A mother who says her life has been turned into a living nightmare after contracting Lyme Disease is speaking out to raise awareness.
Nichola Burwood has been living with the disease - that has now affected her heart and brain - for the past four years.
Ms Burwood said GPs need better training on the disease caused by bacteria spread by ticks and a new, more reliable test needs introducing.
The 46-year-old added: “For years I was being referred to different people, I was so poorly, at times I couldn’t get out of bed for months at a time.
“I was eventually tested for Lyme Disease, the NHS test came back negative but I sent off a blood test to Germany which came back as positive. The test in the UK is renowned for coming back with a false negative.
“We need to campaign to get the test changed and ensure GPs are given better training to correctly diagnose it.
“Up until that point I hadn’t seen a GP in 20 years, I had always been fit and healthy, riding horses two to three times a day, working 24/7 on a farm.
“Since contracting Lyme Disease I have had seizures and have been left with a heart condition - Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)”
Ms Burwood, of Scunthorpe, said early treatment in the first week is the key to preventing long term affects.
“People often get a bull’s-eye type rash and within 24 hours the worst flu-like symptoms you can imagine.
“If treated early with antibiotics it will leave no lasting affect.
“It is misdiagnosed so often, people are diagnosed with MS, ME, Parkinson’s. I was told at one point that it was all psychological and in my head, it took four years to eventually get to this diagnosis.”
Since contracting the disease Ms Burwood, who is a mum to Oliver, aged 22, and 20-year-old Toby, has been forced to give up her job on a farm, is currently on long term sick from her new job at a golf course and says her quality of life has seriously deteriorated.
She added: “It’s not really a life, I’ve lost my driving licence because of the seizures, I don’t know what my health is going to be like until I wake up, it’s a nightmare, it took over my life and destroyed my life. My confidence has totally gone as I don’t know what I will be like day to day.”