Ticks – a seasonal reminder – please be tick safe!
As May progresses, all over the UK ticks will become a site hazard once again, and will remain so until November. The threat of Lyme disease is real, and must be taken seriously by Woodland Trust Staff and Volunteers. “The Big Tick Project” provides post code searchable maps that give a real insight into the danger posed by tick borne infection across the UK
Have a look at your area to get a feel for tick risk. In the meantime please follow our advice for staying tick aware & tick safe:
- When visiting our sites 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 are 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.
- If symptoms of illness occur after insect bites – “Bullseye” rashes, excessive swelling or aches and pains for example contact a GP immediately. 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.
Not everyone with Lyme disease gets the rash. Some people also have flu-like symptoms in the early stages, such as:
- A high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
- Muscle and joint pain
- Tiredness and loss of energy
Where ticks are found, the Trust recommends that they are removed using a tick removal tool specifically designed for that purpose – preferably a “Tick Lasso” as they are the easiest to use. Tick Lasso’s” are available from firstname.lastname@example.org . Woodland Trust Volunteers can request the free of charge from the National Volunteering Team email@example.com
How to use a “Tick Lasso”
Where a tick removal tool is not available, sharp point tweezers may be used (not blunt nose, eyebrow type, as these are likely to crush the tick).
- 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
*Remember – Lyme disease is only one of forty Zoonotic Infections that can be contracted in the countryside. If at any point you feel ill after countryside work, contact your GP immediately. For further information read Woodland Trust Safety Guidance Note – Zoonotic Infections