Tick Bite Prevention Week: Psychologists need to know about Lyme disease

We tend to think that the symptoms of Lyme disease consist of a skin rash, followed by flu-like symptoms. But this infectious disease, spread to humans by tick bites, can have serious mental health and neuropsychological implications too.

“Psychologists can see people with undiagnosed Lyme disease who have been referred for help with chronic fatigue syndrome, mental health problems, neuropsychological assessment or autistic spectrum disorders,” says clinical psychologist Dr Sarah Marzillier C Psychol.

“So psychologists need have some basic knowledge about Lyme disease, know what symptoms to look for and know how to support people who are suffering from it.”

This week – 26 March to 1 April 2012 – is Tick Bite Prevention Week. Its website provides information that members of the, public and groups can use to reduce the risk of being bitten. Ticks are small parasitic insects that usually choose wildlife and farm livestock as their hosts.

Tick Bite Prevention Week promotes awareness about the health risks from tick bites and the simple, sensible preventative measures which can be taken against them. It also provides advice on what to do if ticks do attach.

The campaign week is held in early spring when the weather gets warmer, people begin to spend more time outdoors and ticks start to become more active. The disease is named after the town of Lyme, Connecticut, where a number of cases were identified in 1975.