It’s been a bad year for Ticks….
Earlier in the year we published a bulletin of the dangers of Ticks and Lyme disease, which unfortunately is becoming more prevalent in the UK.
Ticks are most active between May & June and again between August and November.
Since the our last article two members of Woodland Trust Staff have contracted and been treated for Lyme’s.
Therefore it seems wise to re-visit the risk…
When visiting or working in the countryside, it’s important to take precautions against ticks and be vigilant for the symptoms of Lyme disease.
Please follow our risk assessments standard advice when working outdoors – this includes:
- Wash hands whenever hygiene facilities become available.
- Cover cuts with a waterproof dressing
- If eating outdoors ensure hands can be washed/sanitized (sanitizing gel is fine if other hygiene facilities are unavailable)
- Avoid getting river, canal, pond or stream water in mouth or cuts – if accidental contact occurs clean and rinse as soon as possible.
- If, after contact with water, flu like conditions occur seek medical advice immediately.
- Keep to footpaths where possible
- Wear appropriate clothing in areas likely to contain ticks (grassland or other undergrowth inhabited by mammals) a long-sleeved shirt and trousers tucked into your socks is advised
- Inspect skin for ticks at the end of the day, including your head, neck and skin folds (armpits, groin, and waistband) – remove any ticks promptly
- If taken, check that pets do not bring ticks home in their fur
Removing Ticks if you find them
There are a number of recommend ways of removing ticks – these include
Method 1 – using an adjustable Tick Lasso
Tick lassoes are easy to use and extremely reliable – they work by encircling the tick, constricting around its mouth parts and pulling it free – our preferred tool is available to volunteers by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Method 2 – Tick Hook
Tick hooks come in assorted sizes and are very durable
Method 3 – Sharp Point Tweezers
Blunt-nosed tweezers (like the ones used to pluck eyebrows) are too broad and are more likely to squeeze the body of the tick. Fine-tipped tweezers should be used as they are slim enough to get close to the tick’s mouth parts without coming into contact with the body of the tick, which avoids compressing it.
- Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull upwards with steady, even pressure.
- Do not twist or jerk the tick as this may leave its mouth parts embedded, or cause it to regurgitate infected fluids. If any mouth parts do break off, they may be removed with a sterilised needle or tweezer points.
- Do not squeeze or crush the body of the tick, because its fluids (saliva and gut contents) may contain infections and leak into the host’s bloodstream or into the skin.
- Do not handle the tick with bare hands, because certain disease-causing organisms may enter through breaks in the skin or through mucous membranes (if you touch eyes, nostrils or mouth).
- After removing the tick, disinfect the bite site with an antiseptic wipe or wound wash and wash your hands with soap and water
With Zoonoses, early diagnosis is crucial to minimise health problems. If you have been bitten by a tick please look out for the following
- A high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
- Muscle and joint pain
- Tiredness and loss of energy
- Rashes with or without bull’s eye markings.
The rash can appear up to 3 months after being bitten by a tick and usually lasts for several weeks. Most rashes appear within the first 4 weeks.
If you experience any of these following a tick bite please visit your GP immediately.
Further information on Lyme’s https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/lyme-disease/
Further information on Zoonoses https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/zoonotic-diseases-zoonoses-guidance-data-and-analysis