Ticks

Ticks ticks ticks.  We seem to spend a fair amount of time educating people about ticks.   What they are, when & where you may be at risk, how to reduce the risk of getting a tick, and of course what to do if you do get one.  It’s always that last piece that can get frustrating as it is often a battle against old wives’ tales of crazy, and dangerous, ways to remove them.  Social media can be a great thing, but when someone sees some bad advice posted somewhere they will often believe it as fact.  Then they share that poor advice without doing any of their own research or having any actual knowledge, but they will adamantly stick to that advice as being factual and the best.  Where ticks are concerned this is dangerous!  I have had made numerous posts and replies to people who advise others to “smother it in Vaseline” or “burn it off with a cigarette”, trying to educate them of the correct way forward.  The response I get is usually that they didn’t really know anything about it, but they had read that advice somewhere else so thought they would share it and advise others.  That’s a whole separate discussion on social engineering so let’s get back to ticks and let’s keep it simple.

  • Ticks are now more common than ever. They can be found across the UK in towns as well countryside.
  • Not all ticks carry Lyme Disease, but the percentage does seem to be increasing.
  • They are very small and can easily go unnoticed until they have started feeding off you and are engorged with your blood. You will not feel it attach to you.
  • Lyme Disease is an awful and very debilitating disease. It can be life changing. You do not want it.

The first thing to do is to take precautions so that you can reduce the risk of getting a tick;

  • Wear long trousers and long-sleeved tops, even tuck trousers into socks.
  • Light coloured clothing can help in spotting the dark coloured ticks on your clothing and before they attach to you
  • Use a tick repellent – Click here for lots of great info on repellents
  • http://lymediseaseuk.com/2016/03/27/literature-review-of-tick-repellents-nicola-seal/
  • Check yourself, your children and your pets regularly for ticks when out and about and brush off any that are unattached.
  • When you get home, have a shower and check yourself thoroughly for ticks. Also check any people or pets who were out and about with you.

This photo is a tick on my  daughters ear. We managed to get it before it was embedded because we checked her carefully after a walk in the New Forest.

If you are unlucky enough to get bitten then refer to the steps below;

  • Remove the tick as quickly as possible using the correct tick removal technique
  • Click here for good factual advice on tick removal
  • Keep the tick so that it can be checked to ensure that all of it was removed
  • If you are unable to remove the tick successfully, visit a doctor immediately, even if it means going to A&E.
  • Wash your clothes at a high temperature.
  • If you notice a rash or become unwell after a tick bite, then see your GP immediately and tell them about the tick bite and your concerns about Lyme disease.

Other useful Resources

A great video from the BMC all about Ticks

Lyme Disease UK

Lyme Disease Action