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Mum issues warning after two-year-old son contracted Lyme Disease at playground

Claire Reid

Published 
| Last updated 

Mum issues warning after two-year-old son contracted Lyme Disease at playground

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

A mum has issued a warning after her young son contracted Lyme disease at his local playground.

Bethany Harris, 26, visited the park near their home in Exmoor, Devon, with her two-year-old son, Harrison, and one-year-old daughter.

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When they returned home, Bethany spotted a tick under little Harrison’s ear and another in his hair.

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Although initially unsure of exactly what the insects were, Bethany used Google to investigate.

She said: "We go to that playground all the time, when we went last Sunday he came away with two ticks.

''I've never seen ticks before so I had no idea what to do.

"I followed advice and removed the ticks, then kept an eye on the areas and whether he started to feel unwell.

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"On Monday, eight days after we found the ticks, I noticed in both areas he had a red circle rash, so even thought he felt okay in himself, I called 111."

Bethany had visited the park with Harrison where he was bitten by two ticks. Credit: SWNS
Bethany had visited the park with Harrison where he was bitten by two ticks. Credit: SWNS

Bethany was told to immediately take Harrison to A&E, where he was checked over by a nurse and a specialist microbiologist.

The specialist told Bethany that Harrison had contracted Lyme disease from the ticks he got at Redgates Play Park.

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Lyme disease is an infection that is caught after being bitten by an infected tick - thankfully, it can usually be treated with a course of antibiotics.

However, if left untreated it can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system - with serious consequences.

Bethany said: "The doctor took a look at the bites and confirmed straight away that it was Lyme disease. I had no idea what that even was.

The specialist found that Harrison had contracted Lyme disease. Credit: SWNS
The specialist found that Harrison had contracted Lyme disease. Credit: SWNS
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"The doctor said the only kind of tick that could have done that was a deer tick, so he asked me where he had gotten the bites so I showed him.

"The playground is right next to a woodland and open fields, which would be rife with deer ticks which carry Lyme disease.”

Fortunately, Harrison was treated with antibiotics and is now fine.

Bethany said that she wrote to the council and asked them to put up warnings, but claims she was told they had ‘no plans’ to issue any warnings.

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She said: "It seemed strange to me because surely when the council build a playground they do risk assessments for these kind of things.

"I know ticks aren't a problem all year round, but knowing a playground is built near a woodland with deer and knowing ticks are rife in that area it seems strange."

Harrison thankfully recovered after a round of antibiotics. Credit: SWNS
Harrison thankfully recovered after a round of antibiotics. Credit: SWNS

A spokesperson for East Devon District Council said: "We’re sorry to hear that a child has suffered from a tick bite, and we hope that he makes a speedy recovery.

"We keep the grass short in our play areas, which reduces the risk of ticks getting onto people, but areas outside of the play areas are often left to grow for reasons such as increasing biodiversity.

"This time of year is when ticks become active and we would like to take the opportunity to remind the public of the risks associated with ticks.

"Government guidance says to walk on clearly defined paths to avoid brushing against vegetation, wear light-coloured clothes so ticks can be spotted and brushed off, use repellents and carry out a tick check."

Topics: Health, Parenting, News

Claire Reid
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