/ NEW ARTICLE: Ticks and Lyme Disease by JayH

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Michael Ryan - on 12 Apr 2007
It's tick season and wherever you climb in Europe you risk getting Lyme disease.

But how do you know if you've got it and what do you do if you do? JayH, now JayG, talks from experience and gives us the low down on ticks and Lyme disease.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=398
Al Evans on 12 Apr 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Good article, just two things to add that might help, firstly when running on Jura, one of the worst places in the UK for ticks because of all the deer, we found that caking your legs in 'Deep Heat' kept them at bay, before we discovered that we were all affected.
Secondly, we obviously couldnt do that with the dog, and he got some that did the 'baked bean' thing. We found that just dipping a match into a bottle of neat Bob Martins Dog Pest Shampoo and dropping it on the tick they would fall off instantly.
willhunt - on 12 Apr 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Im scared!
LakesWinter on 12 Apr 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Man, that's bad! I had 1 on my finger in glen nevis the other week but i flicked it off whilst it was crawling, before it got a bite fortunately, checked later, didnt find any others though.
Doug on 12 Apr 2007
In reply to MattG: Maybe a difference between medics or between countries (I live in France) but when a friend of mine got bitten by a tick at 'bleau and had the classic rash the next day he was prescribed a short (4 or 5 day) course of strong antibiotics. As he's had no problem since (around 5 years) I guess the treatment worked.
Jenn on 12 Apr 2007
They did have a vaccine in the US, but looks like they weren't too sure how effective it was???

http://arthritis.webmd.com/tc/Lyme-Disease-Prevention

Vaccine for Lyme disease

A vaccine was developed for use in high-risk areas; however, the vaccine was recently removed from the market due to uncertainty over its effectiveness and lack of demand, and it is no longer available.


Good article though - cheers!
Mike C on 12 Apr 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Thanks for (finally) putting this up Mick. The prevalence of ticks is supposed to be it's worst ever this year in this country after such a mild winter.
jasonpm - on 12 Apr 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Good article. I seem particularly susceptable to ticks compared with the other people I climb with, maybe its the hairy legs, they think i'm a sheep. I've had about 10 in the last five years but fingers crossed have never had any related illness.
Michael Ryan - on 12 Apr 2007
In reply to jasonpm:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com) Good article.

Yes...thank you very much Jay.

As we get more information we can update this FAQ.

Mick
John2 - on 12 Apr 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: The link that says see here for a list of UK infected areas doesn't link to a list of infected areas.
IanJackson on 12 Apr 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Scary. I got covered in ticks several times last summer. There's alot of sheep on our moors! I always found a lighter was the best way to get rid of them, if i don't have any tweezers anyway.

Ian
Knitted Simian - on 12 Apr 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

bloody hell, it looks like the brain bug from Starship Troopers.

I wonder how many fell runners end up with a gut full of these blighters?
eppa - on 12 Apr 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Crikey. Well I'm never frolicking naked in the hills again, that's for sure.
ste_d - on 12 Apr 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

i developed a classic 'bulls eye' rash one summer after climbing in the churnet

i didn't realise i had been bitten by anything and didn't know anythign about Lyme at the time

i got some ABs from casualty and the rash subsided, sadly i didn't get a photo of it...as far as i am aware i haven't developed any subsequent symptoms, but seeing as many of the symptoms are vague and easily attributable to other minor ailments it is difficult to be precise about this
Michael Ryan - on 12 Apr 2007
In reply to John2:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com) The link that says see here for a list of UK infected areas doesn't link to a list of infected areas.


Not an ideal link John but the original had expired.

It does say this:

"Most cases in the UK occur where infected ticks are found - mainly in Exmoor, the New Forest, the South Downs, parts of Wiltshire and Berkshire, Thetford Forest, the Lake District, the Yorkshire moors and the Scottish Highlands. Most people affected are forestry workers and other outdoor workers, but visitors and holiday makers to these areas are at risk."

http://www.patient.co.uk/showdoc/27001178/

If anyone can find a better link please post. A map of hot spots would be useful.
Al Evans on 12 Apr 2007
In reply to Knitted Simian:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
>
> bloody hell, it looks like the brain bug from Starship Troopers.
>
> I wonder how many fell runners end up with a gut full of these blighters?


Do the Deep Heat thing.
Andy Say - on 12 Apr 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
And just to fan the panic you might want to be aware of the spread of TBE (tick borne encephalitis), especially in the eastern parts of Europe for those of you cragging in Czech Rep. or Slovenia. Potentially far more serious than Lyme Disease! have a look at www.masta-travel-health.com/tickalert for more info.
Mac Ghille Aindrais - on 12 Apr 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Cheers for the article.

I have had a tick from the heather below Stac Pollaidh already this year(few weeks ago). Jump the girlfriend as she was sunbathing there and then me in bed!

Have been checking thouroughly after outdoors activity in likely areas since then.

They were out early this year.

Andy

P.S.

Where in this page does it show a list of infected areas in the UK?

http://www.patient.co.uk/showdoc/27001178/
elsiem - on 12 Apr 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Interesting indeed. However Im not completely convinced about the dosing recommendations JayH/G summarised. The ILADS article suggests the 400mg doxy 30 days for 'disseminated Lymes disease' not for prophylactic treatment based on clinical judgment which in the end will be about 99.9% of presentations to a GP. Paragraph 21 suggests the use of higher dose antibx for longer but the data is very limited with "no well designed studies" errr that will be the basis for most evidence based medicine gone then...and the side effects definitely have to be taken into account. JayH/G herself lists side effects that I would personally not be find acceptable on the odd chance I could have Lymes...

"I took doxycycline for 2 months and suffered a burning stomach, oral thrush, nerve damage in my arms and legs and severe sunsensitivity..."

my 2p.
steve456 on 12 Apr 2007
> The bacteria from the tick’s burst guts and saliva can still infect you

Woops. I got quite a few one week in the lakes and after getting them out of each other (using meths and tweezers) we used to crunch their shells by putting them on one nail and rolling another over them. Very satisfying but apparently very wrong...
ads.ukclimbing.com
Andy S - on 12 Apr 2007
In reply to steve456: I don't make a habit of willingly killing living things, but there's a line - the tick has invaded me, it dies. No two ways about it. I always kill the f*ckers, it's nature's fury.
Mike C on 12 Apr 2007
In reply to Andy S:

One thing worth thinking about, if you suspect infection a much quicker result can be obtained by analysing the blood from the tick than trying to find the infection in a sample from your blood.

So, keep the tick!
alaan - on 12 Apr 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

I got quite a few last year from frolicking on Dartmoor, I seem to remember it coincided with the first time I watched aliens. No idea how they got there (honest!) but found two little buggers in a VERY sensitive place - most alarming! Never taking a short cut through the bracken again...

Al
chickenpox on 13 Apr 2007 - cache-los-ac04.proxy.aol.com
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: I can only speak from my experience in southern spain. I am a bit nieve obviously as I thought they needed a hot climate to live. I used to look after a pals goats and lived in his house that was right beside the goats enclosure. Often we would head off to the mountains for a night and sleep ina cave with the goats and dogs, many a time I've found them in my armpit, never anywhere else mind, although my pal did get a few in his 'other regions'. Mine never got past the size of a small berry but the ones under the dogs collars did get to the size of a 20p. I always found as long as you got hold of the head and heard the crushing sound before twisting it didn't leave the pincers in the skin where I thought the infections came from. I really didn't think it was a problem here.
Fiend - on 13 Apr 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

I once found at well fed tick on the equally well fed resident labrador at the climber's campsite in Montague, SA. I carefully teased it off and then squeezed it hard - its head bits flew off, propelled by a thin stream of blood. That was pretty cool.
IbexJim on 13 Apr 2007 - 10.89.21.199 [194.221.212.193]
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
thanks for info - I understand that one reason for the 'explosion' this year is that Defra have banned some of the more effective sheep-dips, as being dangerous to human health - so we get a different danger instead!
Andy Say - on 13 Apr 2007
In reply to IbexJim:
I'll live with ticks if hill farmers can avoid some of the more noxious nerve agents that MAFF/DEFRA have continued to force them to be exposed to for years. About time they banned a few.
tommyzero - on 13 Apr 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Good article.

I got three ticks, still attached to places that made me wince when I had to remove, them from Richmond Park (wild deer in the park) in London (several years ago) no rash and no further symptoms fortunately.

There is no climbing there but thought I'd post it anyway.

We had a visitor come and stay with us who had Lyme disease. He was well when he arrived. Then it hit him again. I've only ever seen one other person looking so ill. He couldn't move for days. Poor sod.
bergalia on 15 Apr 2007 - begax1-188.dialup.optusnet.com.au
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

On a more serious note. If you come climbing down under - on the Australian Far South Coast of NSW you stand a good chance of being bitten by a tick which will kill. Certainly they are fatal to large animals, and many local dogs die each year as a result of the 'blue' tick - roughly the size of the fingernail which illustrates the article above.
The second tick (similar size) is the brown tick. Doesn't kill (or shouldn't unless you've a weak constitution) just makes you feel like shit.
If hit by the blue - the 'Paralyzing Tick) get instant medical assistance.
To remove the ticks grip the body - but not firmly enough to burst it, and twist in an anti-clockwise direction. (The jaws wind in a clockwise manner.) The dab instantly with an emetic. Aftershave, whisky, gin metho or whatever.
But apart from that NSW has some great climbing. (Apart from the snakes - all but one fatal.) Oh, and the odd scorpion.
StevieW - on 15 Apr 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

What a great article. To add my bit to the discussion, I have Lyme disease, but unfortunately did not receive the correct diagnosis originally (I was originally diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue) and did not start to get the necessary antibiotics until after two years. By waiting this long I am now virtually house bound and some days virtually bed bound and have been ill now for over three years. I say all this not to get sympathy, but to get you all to take it all seriously. Like you Mick, I have done a lot of research into the condition and a lot more information is coming out about how to treat it. A combination of antibiotics is probably the best approach to kill the critters, as the bugs can exist in different forms, of which different kinds of antibiotics are most effective against diferent forms. Not so sure I agree about the waiting 6 weeks to see if you get it as there seems to be plenty of evidence that the disease can lie dormant indefinitely, before 'becoming active', by currently unknown reasons. It also looks like you can pass it on sexually and from mother to baby via the placenta. It is common to get to have other co-infections too. The 'best' news if you can call it that, is that it looks like you have to be genetically predisposed to get the disease, i.e. most people when bitten by an infected bug will be able to cope with it, but in some people, like me, their immune system effectively does not have the correct genetic programming to be able to cope and therefore you get ill. I guess I'm not the most objective advisor when it comes to giving out advice, but I would get treatment immediately because you don't know whether you are genetically predisposed to get it and/or whether the disease is just lying dormant. For any of you who want to get treatment, but your GP's are being a**holes about it there are two Lyme disease specialists in the UK. Apparently it is illegal to give details over the internet so you didn't hear it from me - but they are Dr Wright, Westhoughton, Lancahsire and Dr Owen, Cardiff. Google will give you the rest. They are both private specialists and have gotten many people well. Before I got ill I had a research background and presuming I get well enough to work again I'm going to make Borrelia my career, because I think from what I've read so far, it is on the increase and us climbers are more at risk that your average Sunday driver type.
Michael Ryan - on 15 Apr 2007
In reply to StevieW:

Stevie thank you very much for that. A harrowing story indeed. I'd just like to point out that I did not research or write this article (just edited, layed it out and announced it).

It was JayH that researched and wrote this article and as you say she did a very fine job indeed.

Best of luck.

Mick
John Lisle - on 15 Apr 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Good article Jay.

To add to the doom - I got bitten on 29 Jan this year at Gimmer; seems the winter really has been too mild to kill them.

Last summer the gearoing up spot at Gimmer was awash with the buggers - I got twelve despite regular checks and removed several more pre-bite.

J
sgiand - on 15 Apr 2007
In reply to John Lisle: Just back from two days walking in Strathconon (big shooting estate) and can confirm that, here at least, the ticks are really bad this year, probably as a result of the mild winter. Over 48 hours I probably removed over 100 from my clothing (many just the tiny 'pepper dust' sized ones) plus three or four from my crotch area (probably got in through the mesh vents on my trouser legs). My wife also removed two more from areas I couldn't see / reach. Anywhere with heather, long grass or bracken seems to be alive with them. Only high up where the vegetation is very short do you get away.
rich on 15 Apr 2007 - host86-135-205-176.range86-135.btcentralplus.com
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: only just caught up with this - very nicely done Jay, thanks
gb83 on 15 Apr 2007
In reply to sgiand: I worked on an estate in one of the neighboring glens to Strathconon last year and they were bad then, and they have been on the increase or so I was told. You can get proper removal tools for the buggers that will even get the tiny ones out without leaving the heads in your skin leading to infection. Stupidly I have never seen them in any outdoors shops. You can get them from your local vet though as they are used to remove them from dogs and cats. I take one in my first aid kit as they are a nifty little hook tool that saves a lot of hassle.
Jamie HH on 16 Apr 2007 - mirage.ups.com
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Having a working dog, I regularly have to remove ticks from him. I use a special hock called OTOM. (www.atom.com) Which has two sizes depending on the seize of the tick. This gets under the body and then a sharp twist in either direction and a pull away from the body. This ensure the head is not left in the object it was feeding on. Which can also cause many other problems. I have had a 100% success with this devise and would suggest you carry these with you. Alternative a good set of tweezers or pliers. (Just remember to twist before you pull)
Jamie HH on 16 Apr 2007 - mirage.ups.com
In reply to gb83:
> (In reply to sgiand) I worked on an estate in one of the neighboring glens to Strathconon last year and they were bad then, and they have been on the increase or so I was told. You can get proper removal tools for the buggers that will even get the tiny ones out without leaving the heads in your skin leading to infection. Stupidly I have never seen them in any outdoors shops. You can get them from your local vet though as they are used to remove them from dogs and cats. I take one in my first aid kit as they are a nifty little hook tool that saves a lot of hassle.

the tool is called OTOM. (www.atom.com)
gb83 on 16 Apr 2007
In reply to Jamie HH: Thats the badger!!cheers
gourd on 16 Apr 2007 - 10.253.10.2 [212.219.252.213]
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

BBC Radio Scotland did an excellent episode of 'Medical Matters' on Lymes Disease. Not sure if it's ever repeated though.
Regis Von Goatlips on 16 Apr 2007 - cache-dtc-ae08.proxy.aol.com
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Yes, Thank You Nick you fiend. Love the EXTRA HUGE close up of the "engorged body" tick.
I didn't sleep a wink last night.

UGH.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Regis Von Goatlips on 16 Apr 2007 - cache-dtc-ae08.proxy.aol.com
In reply to Regis Von Goatlips:

*Mick. ooops
ACCUSED tiny screen!
doh.
Regis Von Goatlips on 16 Apr 2007 - cache-dtc-ae08.proxy.aol.com
In reply to Regis Von Goatlips:

*accursed.
(throws up hands) AUGH!
Stu Tyrrell on 16 Apr 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Good site, apol if already posted?

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/ticktips2005/

Stu
Nao on 16 Apr 2007 - host217-43-83-220.range217-43.btcentralplus.com
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
Thanks for the article Jay.

I remember it being a really big thing in the US (when I worked there, was given the whole ticks/Lyme Disease lecture and told to watch out for them). I had not realised that it was an issue in Europe.
airborne - on 17 Apr 2007
In reply to Nao:

Probably a bit late to this thread but I work with a company called Care Plus who have insect repellents (DEET based) and also a tick remover. They're new to the UK but the products are available in travel clinics and many outdoor shops. Details at www.careplus.nl

I seem to suffer from them big time - strange that some people get them and others don't - but the DEET stuff has worked well so far.
richard kirby - on 18 Apr 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

It's the small ones you need to watch out for, so easy to miss particularly if you've never come across them before.

We had a terrifying experiance with ticks in the Hebrides (Pabbay) only becoming aware of them after a few days of shorts wearing through long grasses etc. I still have scars from the bites. Fortunately, Lyme symptoms didn't prevail, although the dormancy issue is worrying me . We had foolishly left our tent doors open a lot and found they migrated from the grass and clothes into the tent and sleeping bags. Nightmare of itching and scratching. Once we realised what they were and removed countless from the tent inner netting with climbing tape, we spent the rest of the week meticulously tick checking each other. We returned to Pabbay later that year after a trip to Mingulay (tickless) to find an even greater problem....so much so that we camped on the beach to be away from the grasses and the dreaded beasts. Camping on the beach reduced the tick invasion but the weeks advancing tides mean't the available sand for 1/2 a dozen tents got ridiculously small. Comically, some of us were woken with sea water lapping up into the tents. The boat arrived just in time.

I have heard they are off the Island now along with the sheep.

It's good to have some clarification on removal rather than the plethora of old wives tales...iodine, lighters, clockwise, anticlockwise, suffocate with vaseline.....blah, blah.

Nasty things...I think I'll be wearing long trousers more this summer.
JWB - on 23 Apr 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Ticks can carry Lymes and TBE (is that the Meningitis brain fluid one?)

You can get vacinated for the brain fluid illness which I am going to get done. I have removed tics 6 times already this year.

Nasty little bleeders.
ed woods - on 24 Apr 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

From my last two trips to Kyloe I've come away with unwanted passengers.

I guess the long grass and bracken is ideal tick territory.

Rick Barnes - on 24 Apr 2007
In reply to ed woods: Kyloe is really bad already this year. I got 4 last weekend, found one well stuck in two days later.
kendo on 24 Apr 2007
In reply to Rick Barnes: Found one attached to my arm after climbing at The Whangie (stop sniggering at the back) last Friday. Was wearing long sleeves but the crafty beast still managed to get in. Discovered it about seven hours after we left. I've read a couple of things about Lyme disease recently so I nearly hit the roof when I spotted it. The missus almost had a fit when I pulled it out with tweezers and it wriggled about. Still gives me the heebie-jeebies thinking about it.

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.