Search

Mother of three ‘devastated’ by Lyme disease after Hampstead Heath visit

PUBLISHED: 08:09 31 August 2017 | UPDATED: 12:04 31 August 2017

Mother of three Lottie Khan contracted Lyme disease after visiting Golders Hill Park in May last year. Picture: L Khan

Mother of three Lottie Khan contracted Lyme disease after visiting Golders Hill Park in May last year. Picture: L Khan

Archant

The managers of Hampstead Heath and other North London open spaces have warned visitors to be aware of the dangers of contracting Lyme disease from tick bites.

A red 'bullseye' rash appears following a bite from a tick carrying Lyme disease. Picture: Lyme Disease Association A red 'bullseye' rash appears following a bite from a tick carrying Lyme disease. Picture: Lyme Disease Association

The warning comes after two women reported getting bitten by ticks carrying the disease during trips to the Heath.

Mother of three Lottie Khan, 39, spotted a red patch on her shin after taking her children to the Golders Green park for a picnic in May last year.

Two months later and after a series of misdiagnoses Mrs Khan was told she had caught the infection from a tick bite.

Her warning comes after former rugby international Matt Dawson revealed he underwent multiple heart operations after being infected with Lyme disease in a London park.

Ticks and Lyme Disease

Ticks are blood-sucking critters related to spiders.

There are many species in the UK, each feeding on the blood of different animal hosts – though they feed on human blood if given the chance. The initial bite does not hurt or itch because ticks inject an anaesthetic into the skin.

An immature tick may pick up the bacteria during a blood meal and pass the disease on to the next animal it feeds on, which might be a person.

Ticks should be removed as soon as possible, preferably with a tick removal tool designed to remove it without it being squashing.

In an emergency, a thread of cotton can be wound close to the skin, and pulled upwards. Disinfect the area around the bite using antiseptic cream.

Do not try to pull the tick out with your fingers, burn the tick or cover it with creams or chemicals.

Eyebrow tweezers are not suitable.

Symptoms appear on average 14 days after a bite.

Diagnosed early, Lyme disease is usually curable with antibiotics.

Mrs Khan, from Hampstead, collapsed after spotting the bite, causing doctors to fear she had suffered a stroke or developed multiple sclerosis (MS) or a brain tumour.

She has had to take a break from her career in HR and struggles to look after her three children on her own.

She said: “I lost my zest for life. It caused me so much anxiety. It was about surviving day by day. Some people get a slow decline, but in my case I collapsed very quickly,”

The weekend after the Brexit vote Mrs Khan was bed bound with flu-like symptoms.

Cara Lorrimer was bitten at a summer solstice party on Hampstead Heath. Picture: C Lorrimer Cara Lorrimer was bitten at a summer solstice party on Hampstead Heath. Picture: C Lorrimer

Then a loss of balance, dizziness, joint pain and paralysis on her left side, led neurologists to carry out tests for a stroke, brain tumour or MS.

She was diagnosed with Lyme Disease only after scans ruled out the other conditions.

“I got worse before I got better,” Mrs Khan said. “I was unable to look after my children and became housebound. You lose your identity a little bit.

“I’m sure dementia is absolutely devastating, but I had similar feelings.”

Ex-rugby player Matt Dawson revealed recently he underwent heart surgery after contracting Lyme disease. Picture: PA Images Ex-rugby player Matt Dawson revealed recently he underwent heart surgery after contracting Lyme disease. Picture: PA Images

Mrs Khan described an episode in King’s Cross when she was so disorientated, she believed she had lost her children even though they were safe at home.

During her illness Mrs Khan moved to West Yorkshire to get support from relatives.

“It’s the kind of illness that untreated can stop you in your life. I’m better but I still get memory loss and fatigue. If you don’t get it treated it can be really serious,” she said.

Mrs Khan posted her warning on the Facebook page Hampstead Mums.

Now another member of the group, Cara Lorrimer has revealed that she was also infected from a tick bite on Hampstead Heath.

Ms Lorrimer, 32, said: “I was at a summer solstice party on The Heath in the long grass on the meadow by the Ladies Pond.

“When I got home, I noticed a bite. It looked different and had red, broken skin. Alarm bells rang as I remembered a conversation about ticks.”

Ms Lorrimer, a child therapist from Kentish Town, contacted her GP when she suffered swollen glands and aching muscles and a red ring like a bulls eye started to form.

“My GP confirmed it looked suspicious and gave me antibiotics straight away,” she said.

Ms Lorrimer counts herself lucky as she believes media attention caused her GP to react.

“I wouldn’t want anyone to be put off spending time outdoors, just encourage people to check for unusual bites, to trust your intuition and push for antiobiotics if you think necessary.”

A spokesman from the City of London Corporation, which manages Hampstead Heath, said: “In line with advice from the Forestry Commission and the NHS, visitors to the Heath should wear appropriate clothing and cover up to avoid getting bitten by ticks.

“These can be found in grassy areas during the summer months and some can carry bacteria that can cause Lyme disease.

“Before departing from the Heath, visitors should inspect themselves and their dogs for any visible ticks and remove them carefully.

“If you find that you have been bitten and begin to develop any flu-like symptoms, please seek medical attention from your local GP as soon as possible,” he added.

Related articles

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

09:43

Two men from Camden have been charged with the murder of model Harry Uzoka.

Yesterday, 13:07

An end is finally in sight after two years of closures on the Gospel Oak to Barking Overground line, which has reopened today for what commuters hope is the last time.

Yesterday, 09:58

Construction giant Carillion has said it has “no choice but to take steps to enter into compulsory liquidation with immediate effect” after talks failed to find another way to deal with the company’s debts.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Protesters packed Islington town hall last night to fight the Whittington Hospital’s contract with Ryhurst, owned by Grenfell Tower-linked Rydon.

Friday, January 12, 2018

The future of George Michael’s tribute garden opposite his Highgate home has been called into question.

Friday, January 12, 2018

A cyclist was left in a critical condition following a collision with a car after which the driver failed to stop.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Food safety officers shut down the Highgate Road restaurant, affiliated with the trendy Soho House group, after discovering breaches of hygiene rules including “a widespread and active rodent infestation resulting in an imminent risk to health.”

Thursday, January 11, 2018

A majority of Labour councillors supporting controversial £2 billion plans to regenerate Haringey have voted to press ahead with the scheme despite quitting their seats before local elections in May.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Toni Krok, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007, has set up a charity to help people living with the condition and their families adjust to the challenges it brings.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now