This week (from April 11th) is "tick awareness week". BADA UK - Borreliosis and Associated Diseases Association - is a fantastic charity that works really hard to spread awareness of ticks, tick awareness and prevention, and awareness of tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease. All week they have been posting articles on their facebook page of people sharing their Lyme disease stories.
Lots of info can be found at these sites:
Tick Bite Prevention Week
An overview of Lyme disease in the UK and Ireland
Lyme Disease Action UK (FAQ)
Spreading awareness of Lyme disease is really important as the disease seems to be on the increase in the UK and awareness is very low. When I say I have Lyme disease, most people do not know anything about it. Because the symptoms can be so varied, Lyme is often misdiagnosed. It is common for Lyme to be misdiagnosed as CFS, like in my case, so the more people are aware of Lyme disease, the higher the chance of treating the illness quickly and efficiently instead of in its later stages when it is much more difficult to treat.
This American study found that 88% of "CFS" patients treated with antibiotics experienced some improvement.
Lyme misdiagnosed as CFS - USA study
This is a huge deal. CFS is so debilitating, has no known treatment, and some people are severely disabled and unable to work or lead any kind of normal life. Antibiotics are not expensive drugs. A simple antibiotic could make so much difference to so many people. Some doctors seem to be against using antibiotics long-term due to the risk of side effects, but in this case the benefits clearly outweigh any negative side effects. Antibiotics are given long-term for acne, so I do not see any reason why they should not be tried in these cases. I know they have made such a huge difference to me - they really have given me my life back.
If you are reading this, please tell someone else about Lyme disease. Increasing awareness may help prevent someone from becoming really ill.