A FATHER-of-two has described his six-year struggle with the potentially life-threatening Lyme Disease after being bitten by a tick in the Lakes.
Ian McCartney has been off work for almost two years and takes a multitude of tablets every day since being diagnosed in 2009.
It took almost a year for him to get the correct diagnosis and he is warning that ‘awareness of ticks’ and Lyme disease has to improve.
The McCartney family live in Lymm, Cheshire, but visited Arnside in August, 2008, to celebrate Ian’s father’s birthday.
Ian and wife Lisa took the family kite flying on Arnside Knott and removed more than 20 ‘black dots’ from their children later that night.
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Ian also pulled a larger one from the back of his thigh a few days later.
Towards the end of the summer he started to experience symptoms he put down to tiredness.
However, they continued to get worse until one day in December he lost his eyesight completely for around ten minutes. He spent the next few months going from specialist to specialist.
“No-one was prepared to investigate deeply enough to find the problem,” said his wife Lisa.
In April there was a report on television about Lyme disease and Lisa realised the creatures they had pulled off in Arnside were ticks.
Ian visited a private clinic in Bedfordshire, reported to be experts in Lyme disease, and after a full assessment and blood tests, was diagnosed in June 2009.
After taking time off work to make a full recovery in 2012, Ian needed something to keep him occupied and is now launching a new board game called PLYT which he had originally made in 2008 to help his children with their maths.
Ian said “I’ve started to enjoy life again and am genuinely hopeful that I’ll have it beaten by the end of the year.
“Some 3,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme Disease every year in the UK, but many experts believe there are a lot more cases out there that are never diagnosed properly.
“If you manage to remove the tick correctly with tweezers within 24 hours you should be fine.
“Anything longer than that and I would urge anyone who has been bitten to take the prudent approach and get down to your GP and insist on appropriate antibiotics.”