Ticks, Lyme disease, and YOU

Ticks, Lyme disease, and YOU

You are probably thinking this is a strange title for a blog, but it is that time of year again when ticks can be a problem for humans, particularly in long grass and wooded areas.

Even our dogs are prime tick targets, so it is a beneficial idea to check on them after a walk through long grass or a wooded area.

So what do ‘Ticks’ look like and how do we know if it is or not?

Ticks resemble little spiders in many respects and can be difficult to detect because they are approximately the size of a sesame seed (1-3 mm) and reddish-brown in colour.

They can grow to the size of a garden pea if they connect and feed on you.

Sitting on trees and shrubs, they wait for a host to pass by before dropping on you or your pet and starting to feed, not realising they have bitten you until later.

Of course, being bitten by one of these ticks raises another health concern: you may contract ‘Lyme disease,’ and most people will not notice anything until they develop the distinctive bullseye rash.

How do we remove one

Before you begin looking for the ‘tweezers,’ have them removed by a medical practitioner or use a tick removal device.tick removal tool

Using tweezers, there is a risk of squeezing the tick or leaving the tick’s head in place, which might quickly lead to an infection; therefore, use the proper equipment to remove it.

When using a tick removal tool, place it under the tick and rotate it 360 degrees to remove the tick completely without leaving the jaws behind.

The 360-degree revolution leaving nothing behind.

After the tick is removed, apply antiseptic lotion to the bite.

If you develop Lyme disease symptoms within a few weeks, you can test the tick by storing it in a container with the bite date.

How NOT to remove one

It is best to remove it with the right tool or by a doctor.

Because tools are cheap, avoid killing them with chemicals or lotions or burning them.

Avoid using tweezers, as they may leave some ticks behind and lead to an infection.

What is Lyme disease?

When a tick bites an infected animal carrying the bacteria that causes Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), it spreads the disease to other animals and humans.

Any bite left undiscovered for more than 24 hours increases the risk of infection, and it may be too small to notice.

Bites are not painful, but if you have one attached to you, they are hard to find.

How is Lyme Disease treated?

If the infection is moderate, a visit to your GP and a course of antibiotics are generally enough to treat it.

If the infection is severe, the hospital may administer intravenous antibiotics while you are monitored.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Early symptoms

  • You might experience ‘Bulls eye’, also known as aserythema migrans, although it may not manifest in every instance.
  • Fatigue
  • Muscular pain
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Fever and chills
  • Stiff neck
  • Nausea

Hence, getting medical help as soon as early symptoms occur is better than waiting till signs get much worse.

Do you want to learn more about this?

Lyme Disease (UK)

This website provides information on the removal of ticks.

NHS inform

There are both early and late symptoms of Lyme disease.

We also cover these bites in our paediatric first aid courses and in our first aid at work courses.

How can we avoid getting bitten?

Wear long trousers and socks when walking through woodland or long grass; check your pet(s) if you have taken them for a stroll through woods or long grass; and invest in a removal tool that is reasonably cheap and widely accessible.

You should check on your pet on a regular basis, as you could be the ticks’ next meal.

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