How to prevent ticks on humans, naturally.
If you are lucky enough to go for a walk in open country there are things you can do to avoid ticks.
Ticks are more prevalent in the months of May to the end of September or until the first frost of the Autumn. This is when we are more likely to take a walk in the country.
Avoid walking through long vegetation as this is where ticks live. If you walk where the grass has been cut then you shouldn’t have any problems. The trouble can start when you brush against taller green growth.
These are something that I’ve learnt to be on the look out for when walking along the Thinking Path. They are a one of the arachnids but, unlike the majority of others out there, these are bad and must be avoided.
Why are they so bad?
They are complete parasites and their single aim in life is to latch on to any warm blooded host (including us) and feed on blood.
These aren’t like ordinary insect bites
If that on its own isn’t bad enough they have the habit of passing on some nasty diseases while they are doing it. The worst being lyme disease. This is a bacterial infection that some ticks carry.
It’s down to luck, not all ticks spread infections. You may get a bite and suffer no ill effects or you may react and display a rash. I’ve actually had a number bites over the years and suffered no ill effect, maybe I have natural resistance.
If you see this on your skin then you must seek medical advice straight away. This is a classic case of a tick infection. Your doctor will most likely prescribe antibiotics.
Possible flu-like symptoms
Some victims may not see this but still have lyme disease. If you know that you’ve been bitten and you develop flu-like symptoms, joint pain, muscle pain or unusual tiredness, take this seriously and seek medical advice straight away.
With treatment in the early stages the problem can be cured. If left untreated there will almost certainly be complications.
You need to identify the foe
They have every advantage over us. From the image above you can see just how small they can be but don’t let their size deceive you. The smallest tick in the image above is just as dangerous as the largest. Take a close look at the image and familiarise yourself with the distinctive shape of the tick. I have found the occasional tick crawling up my arm being alerted by a very slight tickling sensation. They are very flat and, when trying to brush them away by hand, they stay low. You have to scrape them off hopefully killing them as you do it.
Be aware of how they work
They are carried around the countryside by natural hosts including deer, foxes, rabbits and badgers. All of these hosts tend to travel large distances thus giving the tick every opportunity to spread far and wide, feeding as they go.
After feeding they drop off
When they have consumed enough they release themselves from their hosts and drop to the ground. This typically happens along regularly used animal tracks which is very convenient for the tick. A regularly used track is where the tick needs to be when they are ready to feed again.
They reach out and grab you
When they next get hungry they climb up the vegetation on the side of the path and position themselves on the tip of a leaf with appendages protruding. Here they lay in wait for the next host which may be a deer, your dog or you.
They are very difficult to detect
After climbing on-board they start to explore, looking for skin. Once they have found their way onto your skin they are able to move around without you noticing.
They have the ability to crawl over your skin without you knowing they are there. Then when they find a suitable position they bite the skin and inject a substance that deadens the nerves in the area so you don’t feel them. They then become fully attached and start to feed.
Difficult to remove
When you do find them it will be too late. They will already be feeding and displaying a filling or full sac of blood. At this point they don’t need to hide and, because they are so well attached, they are very difficult to remove.
Ticks well attached and clearly feeding.
How can they be removed?
It’s important not to panic and try to just pull it out. By pulling at it the tick will become agitated and release harmful substances that may cause more problems. It is also possible that when trying to pull it out that the mouth parts will break off and stay embedded in your skin.
If you are really worried go to a doctor or there are things you can do to remove it yourself.
Get a ‘twister’ for tick removal
The tick in this image hasn’t been attached for long and is about to be removed using ‘tick twister’. Twisting the tick around in either direction will cause the tick to let go. There are different sized ‘tick twisters’ available to cater for ticks that are bigger due to feeding.
Using a tool like this will remove a tick effectively in a way that will reduce the risk of infection. Doing this the tick doesn’t become too agitated and is less likely to leave you with problems.
Tick prevention on dogs
Pets pose another problem. It may be necessary to keep dogs on a lead at all times when walking in the country unless your in an open, short grass area with no livestock around.
Dogs tend to explore places where ticks can be found and for that reason you may need to take precautions. If a dog picks up a tick it will most likely stay with the dog until it’s either discovered by you or it drops off. If dropping off is the only option remember that this may happen in your house or car. There is then the real risk that it will go looking for a new host and that host will either be the dog again or you.
If you think there may be a risk that your dog may have a tick then you could try something like this.
The same treatment will be effective if your dog happens to have a flea on-board.
Don’t be put off tick prevention is possible
This item is all about warning you of the potential problem and you shouldn’t be put off taking a walk in the country. It’s very important that you know about ticks because you can now be on your guard.easy-to-use treatment for your dog
With careful observation and basic precautions taken, you will have every chance of avoiding these unwelcome visitors.
It surprises me that so many people aren’t aware of ticks and what trouble they can cause. If you have friends who occasionally walk in the country then please share this with them.
If you have had experience of a tick bite please feel free to share your thoughts below.