AN EXPLORER is warning people in north Hampshire about the threat of a serious disease.

Lee Farmer, of Woolton Hill, is warning of the risk of leaving tick bites untreated and how best to fight off Lyme disease, a condition he himself suffered, resulting in a 14 inch long rash.

Ticks can be found all over the Northern Hemisphere and can be found in rough vegetation like woods, common, health land, and long grass, and even in the garden in shady shrubby areas.

They are active all year round particularly in May to September, just the time when people are enjoying outdoor activities in the hot dry weather.

North Hampshire and west Berkshire happen to fall in a high-risk area for ticks which can cause Lyme disease.

The disease has a range of symptoms and can affect the entire body. Symptoms may include a spreading red rash know as the ‘bullseye rash’, headaches, a stiff neck, extreme fatigue, muscle and joint pain and light and sound sensitivity.

Lee said: “I had the classic bullseye rash that kept growing for about two weeks and it didn’t stop spreading until it reached about 14 inches on my lower torso and thigh.

“I didn’t realise it was an infection until my kidneys and muscles started really hurting and I was feeling ill generally.

“That was the prompt to go to the local GP surgery where I was immediately diagnosed with Lyme disease and put on a long course of high strength antibiotics.”

He added: “I’d like people to continue to enjoy the outdoors as much as I do but to be aware of ticks and the disease they carry.

“I think this is particularly relevant for parents whose children might get bitten and infected, and the first symptoms of the disease be put down to a summer cold, hay fever, or an allergy, because of a lack of awareness about Lyme disease.”

People are advised if they find a tick attached to never pull it off, as this trauma can make the tick regurgitate into you and likely give you more of the infection.