You are probably thinking what a strange title for a blog, but it is that time of year once again when ticks can become a problem to us humans especially around long grass and woody areas. Even our dogs are a prime target for ticks and so checking over your dog after a walk through long grass or a woody area would be a great idea.
Ticks do resemble a small spider in many ways and can be difficult to spot with them being about the size of a sesame seed (1-3mm) and a reddish-brown in colour. But once they have got attached to you and start to feed on you they can grow to a size of a garden pea. They sit and wait on branches and bushes waiting for a host to pass by then drop on to you or your pet and start to feed, not noticing you have been bitten for a while till you notice later.
Of course, being bit by one of these ticks also gives us another health concern you could contract ‘Lyme disease’ and most people won’t notice anything till they get the classic bullseye type rash.
Before you go hunting for the ‘tweezers’ it is better to get it removed by a medical professional or use a tick removal tool. Using tweezers their is a danger that the tick may be squeezed or you leave the head of the tick in place which could quickly cause an infection, hence using the right tool to remove it.
When using a tick removal tool it is best to insert it under the tick and then rotate the removal tool 360 degrees with the aim of removing the tick in its entirety and not leaving the jaws behind.
With the 360˚rotation, then the tick is lifted up and away ensuring nothing is left behind.
Once the tick has been removed then apply antiseptic lotion to the bite, the tick should be kept in a container along with the date of bite so if you become ill with Lyme disease symptoms within a few weeks it can be tested.
It is always best to remove it with the proper tool or get a healthcare professional to remove it for you. Tools are relatively cheap in price and you should avoid using chemicals or lotions to kill them, or even trying to burn them off. Using tweezers should also be avoided because you could leave some of the ticks behind and cause an infection.
If a tick bites an infected animal carrying the bacteria that causes Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi) then the tick transfers it to other animals and humans. Generally, if the bite goes undetected for more than 24 hours you are more likely to get infected, and being so small you may not notice it either. Bites are not painful hence hard to locate if you do have one attached to you.
If the infection is only minor then a visit to your GP for a course of antibiotics and is all that is usually required and the problem is dealt with, if the infection is much worse then perhaps intravenous antibiotics at the hospital whilst they are monitoring you.
- You may get a ‘Bulls eye’ (known aserythema migrans) but sometimes this is not present in every case.
- Muscular pain
- Joint pain
- Fever and chills
- Stiff neck
Hence getting medical help as soon as early symptoms occur rather than waiting till symptoms get much worse.
Wear long trousers and socks whilst walking through woodland or long grass, check your pet(s) if you have taken them for a walk through woods or long grass, and invest in a removal tool, they are reasonably priced and readily available.
Check your pet regularly because you could be the ticks next meal.