Ticks are small insects that live in the countryside that normally enjoy getting their five a day by nibbling on sheep and deer. However occasionally they may have a nibble on a tasty passing walker or cyclist ….
They are generally present from March to October – but seasonal changes can mean they appear earlier. It’s important to note that some signs and symptoms take 2-3 months to appear – ie this may be ‘after’ tick season, so you should be vigilant in checking for ticks and the rash all year round
The media here in the UK are currently carrying a story about a confirmed case tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) was identified in a 50-year-old man who was bitten by ticks while mountain biking in Yorkshire – article here
Whilst TBEV is extremely rare, ticks can also carry Lymes disease. Discipline to properly check the nooks and crannies of the human body is required after time spent outdoors – especially in moorland and bracken covered hillsides.
To put the numbers in to perspective there are ‘about 2000 a 3000 new Lymes Disease cases in England and Wales’ (data from NHS).
Forestry Scotland have an excellent wee check yourself’ guide – here
Excellent video here from NHS Scotland on tools for removing the wee beasties, and the correct tick removal technique – here
I find the ‘tick cards’ easier to use than the tweezers – whatever you use do it properly and don’t leave half the blighter inside your skin !!! Removal devices are available on-line and in gear shops and also here
There is excellent info on the signs and symptoms of Lymes Disease on the CheckForTicka website – here
If you venture outdoors with humans get them in the habit of checking for them too ….
….. and chances are you might have a four legged friend with you on your outdoor adventures. Dogs are at risk too. Good article here from the Kennel Club. NB the palces ticks hide and how to remove them are similar to humans.
Get in the habit of a 30 second tick check after your shower after you’ve been out in the hills and countryside, and carry a tick card.