Search icon


08th May 2017

Devastated by Lyme disease: ‘Doctors thought it was all in her head…’

Louise Carroll

A mum from Donegal is advocating for better awareness of Lyme disease after it took seven years for her daughter to receive a diagnosis.

Lyme disease is a bacterial illness transmitted by ticks infected with the disease. It is thought to be affecting hundreds of Irish people and cause for concern has risen as it goes undiagnosed or is often misdiagnosed as something else.

Louis’ daughter Dawn Ní Dhuibhir, hasn’t been able to work since 2010 as the illness has completely taken over her life. She had experienced severe head and back pain and began loosing her appetite. According to the Irish Times, the young woman’s mother explained in an interview;

“Nobody knew what was wrong with her… we went to so many doctors. Some of them thought it was all in her head, that’s the worst of it.”

Last Wednesday around 200 people assembled outside the Dáil in an effort to hightlight the disease and encourage the government to recognise its dangers and how the problem is manifesting.

With summer fast approaching and more of us trekking through woodlands and outdoor areas, being mindful of ticks is crucial. Tick-Talk Ireland—a support group providing information about Lyme disease—recommend wearing clothes that cover the skin, and insect repellant with 20 to 30 percent DEET for exposed skin.

If you do see a tick on clothes or on your skin, gently remove it with a tweezers and apply antiseptic cream to the area. If a rash or other symptoms occur contact your doctor. Ticks are also fond of our pets but can be removed much the same way.

It’s not just an Irish problem either—Lyme disease is common throughout North America and Europe, while celebrities like Ashley Olsen, Ben Stiller, Bella Hadid and her mum Yolanda Foster have all battled the disease.

The good news is that the effects can be treated with antibiotics so once we take the necessary precautions, there’s no reason not to submerse ourselves in the great outdoors.

Join the conversation on Twitter @HerFamilydotie