‘Anyone near grass is at risk from blood-sucking ticks’

DM17420162a.jpg. Sue Pasfield has been bitten by ticks and wants to warn poeple of the dangers of Lyme Disease. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170423-205242008

DM17420162a.jpg. Sue Pasfield has been bitten by ticks and wants to warn poeple of the dangers of Lyme Disease. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170423-205242008

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A woman who was bitten by blood-sucking ticks in the garden of her home now wants to warn other people to beware of the bugs.

Businesswoman Sue Pasfield was bitten FOUR times by ticks and went on to develop Lyme Disease - and is still suffering the effects two years on.

She said: “It is a very insidious disease which can be very nasty and difficult to diagnose and get rid of, yet people - including doctors - know very little about it.

“I am getting better gradually, but it has taken two years and a lot of learning along the way.”

West Sussex and the South Downs have a particularly high population of ticks - a type of mini arachnid. Sue was in the garden of her home in Brooks Green, Horsham, when she was bitten.

“I knew I had Lyme Disease within about a week and went to the doctor who gave me antibiotics which initially worked, but didn’t in the end.”

She has since travelled to the US, Germany and Poland for treatment.

Now she doesn’t want others to go through the same ordeal and is urging people to apply repellents before going outside and to check their bodies each day after being outdoors, and shake out their clothing.

“The ticks can be tiny, the size of a full stop, but it doesn’t stop them from being venemous,” she said.

“Anyone living near grass is at risk, sitting on the grass is not a great idea, even in a park.”

If found, ticks should be removed with tweezers or special tick hooks, taking care to ensure the head is removed.

Lyme Disease can present many symptoms including a distinctive circular rash, fever, sore neck, tiredness, muscle and joint pain and a tingling in the arms and legs.

If untreated, the disease can go on to affect the joints, heart, central nervous system and brain.

“It affects people in so many different ways,” said Sue, who runs a software business with her husband Jon.

Unfortunately, she added, many people were misdiagnosed as suffering chronic fatique syndrome or rheumatoid arthritis.

“The NHS really know very little about it. It is often not recognised and their tests are poor.”

She urged people to visit lymediseaseuk.com for more information and details of support groups.