Lyme Disease: Quick Help and Advice
Help, I’ve been bitten by a tick – What should I do?
For information on how to remove a tick, visit our Ticks and Prevention page.
Note: If you have a history of allergic reactions to tick bites, a doctor must remove the tick. This should take place at a medical facility, where resuscitation equipment is available. See also Tick Induced Allergies Research and Awareness website.
For information on symptoms and illness after a tick bite, visit our Lyme Diagnosis page.
I think I have Lyme disease – Can you recommend a doctor?
How do I get tested for Lyme disease?
General Practitioners cannot request lab tests for Lyme disease. Please contact us. We’ll help you find a suitable practitioner, and help with testing if necessary. See also Lyme Diagnosis and Australian Lyme.
Privately funded testing
Lyme disease and other tick-borne infection tests can be ordered privately. To avoid spending more than necessary (as testing is expensive), we recommend seeking guidance from a Lyme-literate practitioner to help you decide which pathogens to test for.
I have a diagnosis and need treatment advice
Doctors and hospital staff have been unprofessional – Your health rights
This should not have happened to you. The impacts of serious illness are difficult enough to cope with, without being subjected to unprofessional and uncompassionate treatment. It can be a very traumatic experience.
Unfortunately, this is not uncommon when it comes to Lyme in Australia. There is a high likelihood of condescension, disbelief and suggestions that “it’s all in your head” and “we don’t have Lyme here” from medical staff. Read about ‘medical gaslighting‘ so you can name what may be happening to you.
The Government has been made aware of this issue via regular correspondence by us and other patient advocacy groups. We hope that this harmful stigma and mistreatment of patients will soon be addressed. In the meantime, we have some suggestions for you:
- Show yourself the compassion that you should have been given. The way you were treated is not your fault, and you need and deserve care. Talk to Lifeline, your regular psychologist/counsellor, or a loved one about the way you are feeling.
- If possible, take a support person with you to appointments.
- Make a complaint. Find out about your healthcare rights (includes state-by-state list of complaint organisations).
- Find out about the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care and the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights, which states that every Australian has a right to ask for a second opinion about their care and treatment.
- If you or the patient has been admitted to a Queensland Health public hospital (applies also to some Hospital in the Home services) you may consider invoking Ryan’s Rule. This is an escalation process to support patients, their families and carers, to raise concerns if a patient’s health condition is getting worse or not improving as well as expected. (Note: This is a request for a Clinical Review for specific cases, NOT a general complaints service).
- Find out about similar processes to Ryan’s Rule in other states.
- Contact your local Member of Parliament (find your local MP/Senators) or the office of the Health Minister.
I found a tick – What should I do with it?
You may decide to keep your tick to donate to research. Aust Bio Testing laboratory may accept the tick for testing. Please handle it very carefully. Store it in a plastic ziplock bag labelled with the date and the location you found it in. Place the bag in your freezer for safe keeping.
Copyright Lyme Disease Association of Australia