JON WICKHAM, our Equipment and Accessory Buyer, looks at preventative measures when dealing with Ticks.
Ticks are a common parasite to be found on the fells. They live on both sheep and deer, as well as many other mammals. This means that it can be easy to come into contact with them on our grazed fellsides, as well as when bushwhacking through bracken and other vegetation. They are a concern for two different reasons. First, they are carriers of Lyme disease. This can be contracted by humans, and although the effects will usually be easily treated by antibiotics, in some cases it can cause lifelong illness. The second issue is that when bitten by a tick, they have a tendency to latch on and resist removal, making you more vulnerable to infection.
A report in the New Scientist* flagged the possibility that 2017 and 2018 could be the worst years for ticks, and therefore Lyme disease, that we have seen so far. Climate change is increasing temperatures across both America and Europe, and thus expanding the tick’s natural habitat into areas they were not previously abundant. Poland is thought to be particularly at risk, but it could affect the UK as well. It is therefore important to check both yourself and your pets when you come back from a walk, in case you have some unexpected hitchhikers about your person!
Being very small, ticks can look like a dark speck of dirt on your skin, so a close inspection is a sensible idea. Once found, resist the urge to brush them off immediately as their ability to latch on means you may leave their mouthparts still embedded in your skin. The Lifesystems Tick Tweezers are similar to normal tweezers but they can be hooked underneath the tick and twisted, thus ‘unscrewing’ the tick from your skin in its entirety. The alternative is the Lifesystems Tick Remover Card. This looks a lot like a credit card and so can be slotted into a wallet or pocket very easily. Two corners have prongs which can be slid under the tick to remove it from your skin. It also has a magnifying lens which allows you to check your skin more thoroughly.
Bug protection sprays and treatments can also reduce the risk of ticks latching on in the first place - Lifesystems Expedition 100+ DEET Insect Repellent Spray is a good option.
So please make sure you have a quick check after every walk so that you and your pets don’t fall foul of these unpleasant little creatures.
20 June 2017 by Jon Wickham
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