Think it couldn’t happen here (Hannah’s story)

Hannah Nolan with Bill Porter and Fionnuala Britton

Hannah Nolan with Bill Porter and Fionnuala Britton

Exotic diseases is something we associate with far off warm climates but Hannah Nolan from Tinahely wants to issue a word of warning after contracting Lyme disease here in Co.Wicklow.

Think it couldn’t happen here, then read Hannah’s story

“This time 2 years ago I was 100% healthy. I had just completed Kildare Full Marathon on the 12th May 2013 and crossed the line as the 4th Female and felt on top of the world.

A few days later on the 26th May during a long run I was bitten on the ankle by a tick. I never saw the tick and just thought I had a bad insect bite.

2 weeks later I felt tired and had flu like symptoms and slowly over the course of the months that followed I deteriorated. I was admitted to hospital at the beginning of September for a stay of 10 days with a rapid heart rate and unable to breath. There was apparently “no cause” for my symptoms and I continued to deteriorate until I was in bed most days with no energy, severe headaches, tremors, fainting, dizziness and nausea amongst other symptoms.

At one point I can honestly say I thought I might die never knowing what was wrong with me. In October I met a French Locum who tied in the onset of my symptoms to my bite and suspected Lyme disease. I was referred immediately to a Special Diseases consultant who gave a clinical diagnosis and started treatment straight away and 2 weeks later my bloods came back with information of a further infection of spotted fever rickettsia.

I had a short reprieve last summer where we thought I was better, but the bugs were not all gone and I suffered a relapse in October last year.

2 years on from the bite and I am still on a heavy dose of treatment. I am able to do most of my daily tasks and classes which I am grateful for but due to my erratic and high heart rate and difficulties breathing I am still nowhere near able to run like I was before.

I am slowly getting better and still hope for a full recovery – but in the meantime would like to just say be very AWARE (especially during the summer months) there there are such diseases in IRELAND.

I was bitten in Wicklow. I was VERY healthy and hit VERY hard and 2 years on I am still battling to be back to “normal”.


If you receive any kind of bite (be it a tick, a horsefly or mosquito etc) and you have any symptoms please PLEASE seek medical attention early.

If I had received a short course (usually 4 weeks) of antibiotics straight away then I would likely have not developed symptoms and could have been fully cured without feeling any ill effects.

Once it is allowed to get into your system it rips through like wildfire, and because they are intracellular bacteria (similar to TB bacteria) they hide INSIDE the cells and are very difficult to treat. Be Tick (and bug) aware and protect yourself and your family. ‪#‎lymeawareness‬ “

Visit Hannah’s Why Weight Ireland facebook page here


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