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TOWIE’s Demi Sims has spoken out for the first time about a terrifying ordeal which saw her rushed to hospital before being diagnosed with Lyme disease. The 26-year-old, who shocked fans last month by unveiling an adventurous face tattoo, has left Los Angeles, where she is usually based now, to recover in the UK.

The reality star felt compelled to keep fans’ fears at bay by promising that her affliction was not contagious – and that, after a course of antibiotics, she will soon be on the mend.

According to the NHS website, Lyme disease is a bacterial infection which is spread via the bite of infected ticks.

Typically, sufferers will first notice a circular rash developing around their bite mark, accompanied by flu-like symptoms and muscle pains.

It’s vital to act fast, as it’s considered much easier to treat in the early stages of the disease’s development.

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Fortunately, she was diagnosed quickly enough to avoid becoming seriously ill, as she explained to fans in a post on Instagram Stories.

“I caught Lyme disease in America and I didn’t know what it was until it made me very ill in the UK,” the despondent star revealed.

“Luckily I went [to] hospital and got treated for it before it got dangerous. I’ve got three weeks on antibiotics to get rid of it, then I’m going back [to the USA].”

She told fans that she shared her diagnosis with model Bella Hadid and singer Justin Bieber, both of whom she says had it “more severely” than she did “as it got into their nervous systems”.

Meanwhile, Demi promised: “It’s not contagious for anyone panicking if they’ve seen me in the UK and I’m on the mend!”

She added that for the past two days, her health has been much improved.

The star was fortunate enough not to have developed a more serious version of the disease, which can involve taking physical injections of antibiotics rather than simply a course of tablets.

Severe cases also include facial muscle paralysis, memory problems and even heart inflammation.

Some of the worst symptoms can also cause swelling of the spinal cord and membranes surrounding the brain, similar to meningitis.

In other Demi Sims news, the star caused a stir on Instagram a couple of weeks before her Lyme disease announcement by unveiling a new facial tattoo.

The former The Only Way Is Essex star has had a heart design etched onto her cheekbone next to her eye.

Fans have speculated that she may have been inspired by Kate Moss’ sister Lottie, who had the word “Love” tattooed just underneath her eye recently.

Demi is far from new to tattoos and some of her inkings have been the talk of the town.

In the autumn, she had a huge art piece created on her back, which includes the word “Amor”, an illustration of a woman kissing a skeleton and the words “Show me the most damaged parts of your soul and I will show you how it still shines like gold.”

Other parts of the design include text on the nape of her neck reading: “I want the parts of you that you refuse to give”, while two tigers can be seen emblazoned across her lower back.

She also has a “love receipt” on her arm, including an itemised list of “ingredients” such as “affection”, “laughter” and “respect”.

“This is a real copy of a receipt I took from a restaurant on a special day with very special people. I changed the food to words of love,” she explained on Instagram.

Meanwhile, a recent video posted on TikTok of the pair together suggests that she and Love Island’s Megan Barton-Hanson have rekindled their romance.

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