Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread to humans from tick bites; with an estimated 2,000-3,000 cases a year through England and Wales; with about 15% having been acquired abroad.
Ticks don’t jump or fly, but climb onto you if you brush against something they’re on, typically longer grass. In the UK most ticks do not carry the Lyme-causing bacteria, so there’s no need to worry; but the longer the tick is attached for, the greater the risk, especially if the tick is attached for more than 24 hours. However, the ticks that carry Lyme are very small, and can be difficult to spot, especially if they’ve crawled to a more hidden location; bites are not painful. Having a shower can be a good idea soon after any high risk activity (hiking in long grass wearing shorts; picnic without a rug etc) as both the water, and the towel can shake them off if not firmly attached already.
If you do get bitten by a tick, remove it as soon as possible using a tick removal tool, or fine tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible and pull upwards slowly and firmly (trying to remove the tick, not rip its body, leaving mouth parts in your skin). It’s a good idea to then clean the area with antiseptic and keep an eye on it for a few weeks for any changes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27McsguL2Og
65-75% of cases of Lyme disease develop a circular rash in the area, which can have a distinctive “bullseye” colouration; usually appearing a couple of weeks after being bitten, and typically about 6 inches in diameter. Other early symptoms include fever, sweats, chills, fatigue and pain &/ stiffness in the head, neck or back. Paralysis of facial muscles and sharp, prickly nerve pains can also occur. Many other conditions share these same symptoms, so diagnosis can be difficult; especially in the absence of a rash.
July – September is peak season, Gloucestershire is a whole is considered medium-high risk, whilst Lyme disease is known to be carried by some of the ticks in and around Tewkesbury.
Legal Disclaimer: Lyme disease is a bacterial infection. Whilst symptoms include headache, muscle pain, back/neck pain – chiropractors, massage therapists etc cannot treat Lyme disease – or any other infectious disease, for that matter.