As there is a small herd of Roe Deer (and probably visiting Red Deer) at Silverglades, it is important to check for ticks on your body before departing, and to be aware that, if missed, you may need to remove a tick in the days after a visit. Some ticks carry Lyme disease and it is important to recognise the symptoms of an infected tick bite
Ticks carrying disease are found across the UK in both town and countryside, not just Silverglades! Not all ticks are infected – infection rate in any place in the UK varies from zero to about 15%
Ticks can be very small and can go unnoticed. They are most active from March to October, but they can be active on mild winter days. You will not feel the tick attach to you, so check your skin
To download a leaflet explaining how check for and remove a tick safely without squashing it, click here
For more advice on ticks and Lyme disease, click here (Lyme Disease Action, a UK charity dealing with Lyme disease throughout the UK, providing accredited information that you can trust)
For detailed advice on recognising and treating Lyme disease, click here
Removing a tick
Your main aims are to remove the tick promptly, to remove all parts of the tick’s body and to prevent it releasing additional saliva or regurgitating its stomach contents into your bite wound.
Illustrations below are for general guidance and do not represent any particular species.
Use a proprietary tick removal tool (available from this website or many vets and pet shops), and follow the instructions provided. Two common types of removal tool available are illustrated here; the hook and the loop are designed to be twisted to facilitate removal. These tools will grip the head of the tick without squashing the body:
Alternative Method: With pointed tweezers (not blunt eyebrow tweezers!) grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible; without squeezing the tick’s body, pull the tick out without twisting (it is difficult to twist tweezers without separating the tick’s head from its body) – there may be considerable resistance:
If no tools are available, rather than delay use a fine thread, something like cotton or dental floss. Tie a single loop of thread around the tick’s mouthparts, as close to the skin as possible, then pull upwards and outwards without twisting.
Start by cleansing the tweezers/tool with antiseptic. After tick removal, cleanse the bite site and the tool with antiseptic.
Wash hands thoroughly afterwards.
Save the tick in a container in case a doctor asks for evidence that you have been bitten (label it with date and location). Public Health England is also currently running a scheme to investigate ticks – see below.
Do not squeeze the body of the tick, as this may cause the head and body to separate, leaving the head embedded in your skin.
Do not use your fingernails to remove a tick. Infection can enter via any breaks in your skin, e.g. close to the fingernail.
Do not crush the tick’s body, as this may cause it to regurgitate its infected stomach contents into the bite wound.
Do not try to burn the tick off, apply petroleum jelly, nail polish or any other chemical. Any of these methods can cause discomfort to the tick, resulting in regurgitation, or saliva release.
After you have removed your tick, kill it by crushing it and flushing it down the toilet, or by folding it in a strip of sticky tape and placing it in the waste.
Lyme disease-carrying ticks can be found throughout the UK in urban parks and gardens as well as in the countryside. Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium. It can be transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected tick. It cannot be confidently ruled out by any current test, and can be difficult to diagnose as Lyme disease symptoms overlap with those of many other diseases.
Early symptoms may include headache, fatigue, fever, facial palsy and a skin rash called erythema migrans. It may spread to affect the whole body including eyes, joints, heart and brain. If inadequately treated or treated late, it may be difficult to cure.
Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease may include:
Upset digestive system
Disturbances of the nervous system
Sometimes a ‘Bull’s eye’ rash
Symptoms appear on average 14 days after the tick bite. However the incubation period may last between two days and 3 1/2 months. The bacteria can enter a phase in which they do not cause symptoms but are still present. They may still have the potential to cause active disease at a later stage.
Obtaining treatment for Lyme Disease
If you have, or think you may have, contracted Lyme disease click here for a self help page, and consult your GP in the first instance. He or she may know little about the disease and so you need to be prepared with information.
Write a brief summary and take it to their GP and ask for a blood test for Lyme disease. This summary should say:
- date of tick bite or tick exposure, if known.
- description of any rash
- simple summary of history of illness with symptoms
Keep your summary brief and ask the GP to add it to your medical notes. When the test result comes back, the GP is likely to phone the laboratory for advice and will look at the notes, and the lab will be able to give better advice.
Morecambe Bay Naturist Club, Silverdale, Lancashire
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Page last updated 2019/05/15/18:00 by Martin R