Ticks, Lyme disease, and YOU

You are probably thinking what a strange title for a blog, but it is that time of year when ticks become a problem especially around long grass and woody areas and even with the school holidays nearly over we still need to be aware of these little blighters.

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

ticks, lyme disease, and you

Ticks are little parasites that do resemble a spider in someways, they bite you and start sucking the blood and its just not us they bite, they bite animals too. Initially they are so small you may not see one but as they start to eat they start to swell it is quite common for them to swell to a size of a pea.

They do not fly but tend to drop on you from branches and also crawl on you till they find fleshy part of you and start to feed, chances are they may feed for a day or two before you are aware you have been eaten by a tick. Once they have finished feeding they tend to drop off.

There is a chance that the tick could give you ‘Lyme Disease’ off course but if caught early and treated its is not a problem, it is only when its not detected that it becomes a health problem to a human.

Around 50% of people that have got ‘lyme disease’ will develop the classic ‘bulls eye’ type rash and not necessarily where you have been bitten either.

How do we remove a ‘tick’

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 danger that the tick maybe squeezed or leaving the head of the tick in place could quickly cause an infection, hence using the right tool to remove it.tick removal tool

When using a tic 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 degree rotation then the tick is lifted up and away ensuring you leave nothing behind.

Once the tick has been removed then apply antiseptic lotion on 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.

How NOT to remove a tick

Always best to remove it with the proper tool or get a healthcare professional to remove it for you.

You should not try to burn it off, or use chemicals or lotions to kill it. If you use normal tweezers their is the danger you could squeeze the contents of the tick in to the wound and get an infection.

What is Lyme disease?

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.

How is Lyme Disease treated?

If the infection is only minor then a course of anti-biotics usually sorts it out and the problem is dealt with, if the infection is much worse then perhaps intravenous anti-biotics at the hospital whilst they are monitoring you.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Early symptoms

  • You may get a ‘Bulls eye’ (known aserythema migrans) but sometimes this is not present in every case.
  • Fatigue
  • Muscular pain
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Fever and chills
  • Stiff neck
  • Nausea

Hence getting medical help as soon as early symptoms occur rather than waiting till symptoms get much worse.

Want to learn so more about this?

Lyme Disease UK  

Informative website on the removal of the tick

NHS inform

Early and late symptoms of Lyme disease.

We also cover these bites in our Paediatric first aid courses and also on our First aid at work courses too.

How can we avoid being bitten?

Wear 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.