Model Nell McAndrew has major health scare after being bitten by a tick

Model Nell McAndrew has major health scare after being bitten by a tick

"The problem with Lyme disease is misdiagnosis and late diagnosis. People may not spot they have been bitten and just feel ill."

Fitness freak and model, Nell Mcandrew, was recently bitten by a tick and is pushing herself to fight the life-threatening disease. However, this isn't the first time she will be putting herself out of her comfort zone to achieve success. In the past, she has completed the famed London Marathon in under 3 hours and braved the wild in the show - I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! 



While her achievement in the marathon and the challenging show were entirely planned and voluntary, the tick bite and the life-changing disease that the insect brought with it - was completely unwanted. It started out with a mere exercise session in a local park. 


"It was a couple of summers ago and I did a boot camp class at my local park," says Nell, "I also run through the park. There are signs up saying you should always take precautions to cover up because of the risk of ticks in the area, but as the weather was so nice I exercised in just shorts and a vest."


Nell 44, who lives in London with husband, Paul, her son, Devon, 11, and daughter Anya, 4, continues, "It was that evening or the next day I noticed I had an unpleasant-looking bite on the calf of my left leg. I was breastfeeding my daughter at the time so was very vigilant about my health. I took a photo of the bite and kept an eye on it."

After constantly observing her bite, she realized it was worsening and filling up with pus. At the time it did not frighten her but she decided that it was wise to get it checked from a walk-in clinic.

She says, "They poked around it to make sure there were no remains of an insect in it. They then dressed the wound and I was sent home."

She thought the chapter was closed, but it wasn't as she soon started feeling the side-effects of the disease.

"Around that time, I also started to feel a bit fluey and my neck felt achy. My nose was running and I felt totally exhausted, which wasn’t like me at all." 

"In this case, early treatment sorted out the problem quickly" (Instagram)

Over the course of the week, a big reddening rash began developing around the bite which scared her further. "I worried it might be infected, so decided to get it checked out. I’d read about Lyme disease," Nell recalls.

When Nell went to another walk-in center to get the rash checked, she was diagnosed with Lyme disease. "I was told I was the fourth person that day to have come in with the same thing," she says.

She started on a 21-day antibiotic course and on completion of which she felt better and her leg healed. "In this case, early treatment sorted out the problem quickly," says Dr. Pearson, who treated her.

"The problem with Lyme disease is misdiagnosis and late diagnosis. People may not spot they have been bitten and just feel ill."

"It’s been a while since I’ve run that far! Took a good 20 minutes to get in to my pace. Lovely day for a run" (Instagram)

"The doctor said I was really unlucky to have picked it up, as it was quite a rare disease. I remember feeling as though it was my fault, as I hadn’t covered up my legs when I was in the long grass," says Nell.

Her incident is a flashing warning sign for all those people who live in areas that might be infected by deer and wood ticks in the summer. If the tick - a tiny spider-like creature - is infected with Borrelia bacteria and bites a human or a dog then it transfers it's disease to the bitten body - resulting in a life-altering disease. 

The tick themselves are found in long, grassy areas and feed themselves by attaching themselves to the skin. They are so tiny that they can easily be mistaken for a freckle or some dirt. What makes their bites worse is that they aren't painful at all because of the numbing secretion the ticks let out before they bite. Public Health England estimates that there are about 3,000 cases every year – but numbers are on the rise.

"Running to keep warm!" (Instagram)

Doctors advise you to check for ticks by feelings your body all over after being out in an area that might have ticks. Furthermore, the ticks attach themselves in dark, warm and moist areas - and so running your hand over your scalp and even places that might otherwise be covered with clothes is highly recommended. 

A guide to better recognizing those harmful ticks. (Farifax Country)

 With regards to exercising in the open, Nell says, "I do my best to keep covered up but it’s very hard when the weather is warm in summer. I’m now very vigilant about checking myself and my children over if they are ever in parkland. I’m also now more wary of where I exercise." 

Some of the early symptoms of Lyme Disease include - high temperatures, muscle and joint pain, headaches and fatigue and the longer lasting ones are terrifying and can affect the patient's thinking, memory, and information processing ability.

This is because, "over time, the bacteria moves from the skin to the rest of the body, where it can attack the joints, heart, and nervous system – and becomes harder to treat. Some people suffer long-term problems such as pain and neurological symptoms", says D. Sandra Pearson, Medical Director at Lyme Disease Action.


Nell recently took a private test that attested that she was free of the disease. She was also the first person to try out new health and fitness tests from Medichecks, from


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