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.
For information on 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?
Privately funded testing
Lyme disease and other tick-borne infection tests can be ordered privately; directly from the Aust Bio Testing laboratory. 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.
Test results from private laboratories, in Australia or overseas, are not considered valid by Australian medical authorities. A positive result for Borrelia from these laboratories will unfortunately not entitle you to treatment by an Australian doctor. However, it will help you to access treatment from Lyme-literate health practitioners and doctors overseas; many offer online consultations.
I have a diagnosis and need treatment advice
Doctors and hospital staff have been unprofessional – What should I do?
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” from medical staff.
The Government has been made aware of this issue via regular correspondence by us and other patient advocacy groups. We hope that the 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 or a loved one about the way you are feeling.
- Consider making a complaint. Google ‘health care complaints’ and your state for information on how to formally submit a complaint.
- Contact your local Member of Parliament 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. 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.