Information For School Nurses

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi. The infection can spread to humans via the bite of an infected tick. Ticks are most active in early spring and summer but with UK winters becoming warmer and wetter, ticks appear to be active in some parts of the UK throughout the year.

School nurses are well-placed to raise awareness of Lyme disease and tick bite prevention, particularly when schools are planning outdoor activities and trips. You can learn more about prevention here

Small children are often bitten above the waist, and it is essential that an embedded tick is removed safely. Members of staff should be advised to carry a tick remover during outdoor trips and activities.

An obvious sign of Lyme disease is an erythema migrans (bull’s-eye) rash, although not everybody with Lyme disease develops this tell-tale rash. Other signs can be flu-like symptoms, headache, neck ache, and sore muscles and joints. Facial palsy can also occur and symptoms can be longer-term in some cases. Early recognition and prompt treatment are key to a complete recovery.

It may be helpful for school nurses to read some case studies, explaining how children have been affected by Lyme disease. You can read about the Marsh family’s experience of the illness here.