Mum's warning as daughter, 8, rushed to hospital after tick bite during family walk

A CONCERNED mum has warned others to be aware of tick bites after her eight-year-old daughter was rushed to hospital.

Jen Johnson’s daughter Ellie suffered a bite from one while on a family walk up Rivington Pike, part of the Pennine Moors in Lancashire, on June 26.

At first the bite on her leg from the tiny spider-like creature appeared to be a swollen lump but grew larger over the next seven days and looked like a bull’s eye pattern.

While most ticks, which usually live in woodland, are harmless, infected ones can spread Lyme Disease, a bacterial infection.

If not treated, it can lead to facial nerve paralysis, arthritis and meningitis.

Initially, Ms Johnson just treated the lump with antiseptic cream and antihistamines but became more concerned as the lump swelled up and Ellie complained about the pain.

Ms Johnson initially called 111 but was advised to take her daughter to hospital and she was rushed to Wigan Hospital where she was treated at the Rainbow Ward.

The Wigan mum-of-two said: "I honestly didn't know the seriousness of this type of bite and want to make other parents aware of this, especially with the increase of people's outdoor adventures.

"Ellie was kept in through the night. She has a low immune system and is anaemic so it's best for her to be at home due to the current circumstances.

"She's on 15ml of the amoxicillin antibiotic three times a day – that's three times what she'd usually have for an infection – which shows how high the dose is."

What is Lyme Disease?

What to look out for with the disease and how it is treated

The Signs

Most people develop a distinctive red rash the shape of a circle with a ring around it between three and 30 days after they were bitten.

The rash can vary in size significantly and can expand over the course of days or weeks.

Typically, this blemish grows to around 15cm in diameter.

However one in three people who contract Lyme disease won’t develop a rash and some people experience flu-like symptoms; tiredness, muscle pain, headaches, high temperatures, joint pain, chills and neck stiffness.

The Symptoms

If left untreated, Lyme disease sufferers can develop much more serious symptoms including:

  • Serious joint pain
  • Nervous system pain which can lead to paralysis of facial muscles, memory problems and difficulties concentrating
  • Heart problems, such as inflammation of the heart muscle
  • Inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord as with meningitis

The Treatments

Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics and you should visit the doctor immediately if you develop any of the symptoms described after being bitten by a tick.

Most people require a two to four week prescription depending on how developed the condition is.

For particularly severe cases, patients are referred to a specialist for antibiotic injections.

There is currently no vaccination to prevent Lyme disease.

More information can be found on the NHS website.

Ms Johnson added: "She's not showing a high temperature or muscle joint pain at the minute. We definitely caught it as the bacteria started to present.

"The consultant rang on Monday to check on her and ask questions regarding her health and any deterioration."

Ms Johnson wrote on Facebook: "Just want to share my experience, not for sympathy, but to make people aware of what we think is just a normal infected bite to something that could have turned out much worse if it wasn't caught in time.

“Please make other parents aware."

She added: "We are lucky it was caught so soon before the infection had spread more. Ellie's on close monitoring, a high course of antibiotics for 21 days with a check up in two weeks to see if the infection has gone.

“Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can be spread to humans by infected ticks. It's usually easier to treat if it's diagnosed early so please make yourself aware of these types of bites."

Ms Johnson told the Manchester Evening News: "Some people think it's just an infected bite and leave it. Then in months to come or even years they start with the symptoms."

And she wanted to thank hospital staff for the treatment they received at such a difficult time.

"They were incredible," she said. "It's just amazing how they work with all that clothing and masks, I struggled after five minutes.

"Wigan Hospital went above and beyond to ensure we felt safe, please don't hesitate if you really do need to go."

How to avoid getting bitten by a tick

The do's and don'ts to avoid being bitten

Try not to stray from paths and avoid overhanging vegetation unless

Ticks do not jump or fly so sticking to clear areas without
tall grass or shrubs will decrease the chances of being bitten.

If in an area where there is no footpath, try and avoid tall grass or shady areas that are surrounded by shrubs.

When in areas of woodland remained covered, wear long sleeve tops and full-length trousers.

Protect areas such as the back of the knees, armpits and the groin area.

Opt for light coloured clothing in order to easily identify any ticks present that may become attached.

Wellies are not only reserved for rainy days and are perfect when in
high risk areas, as you can tuck trousers into the wellie boots.

Tucking trousers into socks is also a great defence mechanism if
wellies are not an option.

Ticks are very small and hard to identify when not paying attention.

Check regularly whilst outside and also when home in order to remove any feeding ticks.

The longer a tick is left attached the harder it is
to remove.

Avoid any home remedies to try and remove ticks such as covering the
affected area of the body in Vaseline or nail varnish or even burning
them off.

Instead, use a tick removal tool, which are sold in outdoor shops and
some supermarkets and pharmacies.

This will help avoid aggravating the tick and lower the risk of secondary infection.

When removed, use an antiseptic wipe and be aware of any symptoms of Lyme disease.

Last year student Stephanie Todd shared a video of her terrifying seizures after she caught Lyme disease from a tick bite.

She initially went to see her doc with what she thought was flu.

But gradually she began feeling more unwell and experienced exhaustion, migraines, shakiness and nausea.

Eventually, doctors realised that she had late stage neurological Lyme disease because it had gone untreated, it was deeply embedded in her central nervous system.

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