/ NEWS: Battle of the Beasties - Tick vs Midge
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=68192
Next time I am being eaten alive I will comfort myself with the knowledge that I am indirectly feeding cuddly birds and bats, and that a small amount of discomfort is a small price to pay.
Or maybe decide that it is the ecosystem as a whole that is at fault and break out the napalm.
I watched the video. Anyone know why you should avoid using vaseline to suffocate the tick? This is what they advised in Australia, and it worked very well - within 30 sec. the tick detached itself to escape the vaseline and I was able to pick it up and get rid of it.
> I watched the video. Anyone know why you should avoid using vaseline to suffocate the tick? This is what they advised in Australia, and it worked very well - within 30 sec. the tick detached itself to escape the vaseline and I was able to pick it up and get rid of it.
Anything that stresses the tick like suffocation can cause the tick to vomit into the host, leading to much increased risk of infection etc
Obviously clouds of midges can be hell but they're far better than ticks!
I particularly like the fact they cover the parts of the day that midges don't, nice bit of shift working...
> I particularly like the fact they cover the parts of the day that midges don't, nice bit of shift working...
They are viscious buggers and I find the reaction to a Horsefly bite is one of the worst in terms of swelling, itching and longevity, even surpassing a Wasp sting. Attacking you from behind is just cowardly on their part....
> Anything that stresses the tick like suffocation can cause the tick to vomit into the host, leading to much increased risk of infection etc
Do you have a link to this explanation, because putting vaselene on always used to be the advice on what to do?
> They are viscious buggers and I find the reaction to a Horsefly bite is one of the worst in terms of swelling, itching and longevity, even surpassing a Wasp sting. Attacking you from behind is just cowardly on their part....
When I was working on the farm as a kid with my dad, I'd get maybe 6 or 8 horsefly bites a day - for me it was a small red mark and a bit of an itch, my mum used to swell up like a balloon (or indeed like my wife does now) - luck of the genetic draw, I guess
Their "mouth parts" are long enough to be able to penetrate through clothing. Never liked 'em. My wife contracted celulitis from a cleg bite and was quite badly with it. The hospital thought that it was likely that the cleg had previously bitten something carrying the bacteria.
As for ticks - in common with most or all blood feeding creatures they inject an anti-coagulant in to the host. I've seen lambs with so many ticks, and I mean hundreds, that the lamb's blood is watery. Blood is normally sticky to the touch but the blood from these lambs felt closer to raspberry cordial. I've been bitten many times by ticks and so far I've been lucky and not had any symptoms of Lyme Disease.
Generally I put my sack, kit or clothes down on stony ground rather than heather or bracken as they can attach to these then to you.
I'd heard tell of a bivvy hut way up in a remote area "Bivacco Valdo" in the "Monti del Sole"...awesome, exposed and very adventurous walk but infested with ticks. Undeterred, I boldly hiked up and back. About a 12-hour round trip. I wore white socks, walking boots and cycle shorts (to stop the buggers crawling up and sucking me balls). That was it. All other clothes I stored in a sealed bag. I stopped every 10 mins or so for a tick inspection. All told, I removed 76 of the buggers. And one more in the shower back home. Naaaaasty, but a great walk.
And it's getting worse: the local climbing area on Monte Grappa is now also becoming infested with them.
A quick google also brings up various sources that tell you not to twist the tick, which is the method shown in the video. For instance, this from the nhs page:
"Grab the tick as close to the skin as you can, and gently pull straight up until all parts are removed.
Do not twist or jerk the tick as you are removing it because this may cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in your skin once the tick has been removed."
But then the nhs page also says
"Using petroleum jelly, alcohol or a lit match to remove a tick does not work."
Hmm. In my experience, vaseline worked very well.
That's worth a shot: let us know how you get on.
I've often wondered about the disease-carrying potential of midges. If they ever do start carrying diseases which cause problems for humans, then we're all f*cked.
I hope these birds that pluck them off animals to eat them follow the NHS advice.
Out of pure curiosity, how long would a tick stick around for if you didn't get it off? Or is that it, it just stays for ever more...
To my knowledge mossies and midges (is there a difference?) found in Scandinavia are both capable and potential carries for exotic stuff like malaria. Luckily malaria is not that common in Scandiland, so while possible it really ain't happening.
But keeps you on yer toes, doesn't it.
Until they are full, which is like a day or two (based on nothing, google should be able to tell ya though). When they are nearly full though, they start vomiting a bit in order to get more blood in. This is why it is important to take 'em off as soon as possible... other wise you risk getting the Lyme decease or something far worse like Tick-borne encephalitis, tularemia or monocytic or granulocytic ehrlichiosis.
> Nice, eh.
Mmmm, no. But thanks.
> Hmm. In my experience, vaseline worked very well.
It did for me too in Swaziland.
I can't find any authoritive info on Google recommending against using vaseline and I should be interested to see a link if I've missed it.
Yes - they're quite different.
Mossies are mosquitos (myggor in Swedish, confusingly!), but midges are something else (smaller and generally more numerous, where they are present), which I've rarely encountered in Sweden (though I have been swarmed by them in the woods at Trollegater).
We have lots of midges in Scotland, and not many mosquitos; Sweden seems to be the other way around.
Much as I dislike midges, I'll take them over ticks any day!
Out of the top ten search results for "How to remove a tick", eight recommend pulling upwards from the base with fine tweezers or a tick removal tool, and most of them explicitly advise against smothering with Vaseline. These include the more reputable sites: webmd.com, bada-uk.org, lymediseaseaction.org.uk, cdc.gov
wikihow.com and instructables.com recommend other methods, but I would not consider either of these reputable.
Smothering a tick with Vaseline will work for removal, but it also increases the likelihood of transmitting a disease. I've used fine tweezers a few times and found it straight forward, but they do need to be fine to avoid squeezing the tick's body. A proper tool is better.
Thanks for that
> Out of the top ten search results for "How to remove a tick", eight recommend pulling upwards from the base with fine tweezers or a tick removal tool, and most of them explicitly advise against smothering with Vaseline. These include the more reputable sites: webmd.com, bada-uk.org, lymediseaseaction.org.uk, cdc.gov
> wikihow.com and instructables.com recommend other methods, but I would not consider either of these reputable.
> Smothering a tick with Vaseline will work for removal, but it also increases the likelihood of transmitting a disease. I've used fine tweezers a few times and found it straight forward, but they do need to be fine to avoid squeezing the tick's body. A proper tool is better.
The problem with the internet is that a lot of websites will just copy information from other websites. I can't see anything suggesting that studies have demonstrated that ticks will puke when covered in vaseline. I'd be interested to see some evidence-based research - anyone know anything?
Also, I've seen several videos demontrating how to twist a tick out with the special tools, which contradicts a lot of websites which say DO NOT twist.
I've also wondered about that very point. I have used a 'tick twister' tool in the way described, and I was worried that I was at risk of breaking off the tick's mouth parts. Rather than twisting, why not just pull the thing straight out?
I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit. Its the only way to be sure.
I'd happily remove ticks from the face of the earth. It seems scraping the barrel to suggest that its great that they help kill off other creatures. About the only thing that can be said for them is that they form a part of the food chain, but they could do that without being evil little vectors of disease and suffering to everything they come into contact with.
I know someone with late-stage Lyme, and the distress and pain it causes them is immense.
I know quite a few folk now with lymes desease. prevalent is an understatement. The west coast is hellish now for ticks.
"In reply to GeoffRadcliffe: i heard recently to spray deep heat on the tick.. basically freezes it and it comes off. I guess it reminds me of using liquid nitrogen, very appealing. will test out in due course.
I know quite a few folk now with lymes desease. prevalent is an understatement. The west coast is hellish now for ticks."
Have they not been put on a coarse of antibiotics. Lymes disease can be treated at any time, even after years of contracting it
It can be treated, yes, but once it has taken a hold, it can be YEARS before it goes into remission. And even then, there is no guarantee its not going to make a re-appearance. Furthermore, the antibiotics required on a daily basis for years screw the digestion up and introduce their own difficulties.
If you are lucky, the spirochetes won't attack the heart, and you "just" end up with -continuous- chronic muscle pain and spasm that is so debilitating that you can't function normally and have to take muscle relaxants as well on a regular basis, plus strong painkillers like Tramadol daily. If you are unlucky, then cardiac failure is a real option.
Treatment when it is discovered months after the event is its own trial. The favoured initial method is high dose Doxycyline, and the course often results in projectile vomiting and continuous nausea, even on an IV.
I've seen first-hand the effects of Lyme, and that includes the anxiety and depression that comes with the disabling effects it brings.
It needs to be caught early when it can be genuinely nailed with the right antibiotics without distress, but if you miss the warning signs or get examined by a doctor that doesn't recognise it, and the spirochetes take hold, its seriously unpleasant, to put it very mildly.
Are there any reports anywhere about this?
Try these for a start http://arthritis.webmd.com/tc/lyme-disease-symptoms http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001319.htm
Something more clinical: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2223850/
Lyme carditis: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11982302
And from http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/usr/jake/mosaic/lyme.html
"If ignored, the early symptoms may disappear, but more serious problems can develop months to years later. The later symptoms of Lyme disease can be quite severe and chronic. Muscle pain and arthritis, usually of the large joints is common. Neurological symptoms include meningitis, numbness, tingling, and burning sensations in the extremities, Bell's palsy (loss of control of one or both sides of the face), severe pain and fatigue (often extreme and incapacitating) and depression. Heart, eye, respiratory and gastrointestinal problems can develop. Symptoms are often intermittent lasting from a few days to several months and sometimes years. Chronic Lyme disease, because of its diverse symptoms, mimics many other diseases and can be difficult to diagnose.
Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics. Timely treatment increases chances of recovery and may lessen the severity of any later symptoms in both animals and man. The most effective treatment will be recommended by your physician or in the case of your animals by your veterinarian and will depend on the stage of the disease. Treatment for later stages is more difficult often requiring extended and repeated courses of antibiotic therapy. In animals and man treatment failures and relapses are reported. "
the sooner the focus moves away from, "its ok, its not a problem, anti-biotics will sort it", the quicker a concerted approach to treatment and more importantly dealing with the root cause the better. I am utterly convinced that bracken is a factor, and bracken is now out of control in the west coast pretty much. The EU have banned the spraying of it which of course doesnt help! I have found that the majority of the times i get tick bites is when I walk through bracken. as ive said before, in the east coast and grouse moors where there is intensive tick control I never get tick bites. This is a serious issue for humans now, so i dont want to hear the crap about the importance of them for the ecosystem.
If you put "tick removal" in Google scholar there are several pieces of research in to the different techniques. From a quick skim, this one is quite good: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2002/0815/p643.html
"Although there is conflicting evidence as to whether the removal technique influences infection rates,6,10,16 these methods may induce the tick to salivate and regurgitate into the attachment site, theoretically increasing the risk of infection.8,11"
I read somewhere in the past that a quarter turn in the correct direction causes the mouth parts to close, making removal easier. Since I can never remember which direction to turn, I just pull straight up and there isn't too much resistance. Maybe it helps when removing larger ticks from animals.
I used to smother ticks with toothpaste before reading that it wasn't a good idea. It doesn't mean that you'll get infected, it just 'theoretically increases the risk'.
"Ticks are opportunistic and quick to exploit weak, ill or old animals"
I was "exploited" by a tick in my nether regions during a trip to the Picos last year. Very embarrassing trying to explain to a non English speaking 17yrs old female receptionist in the minor injuries clinic in Potes that I had something like a crab next to my nuts. The Doctor also had poor English - so I got rather worried when he opened a jar of Vaseline. He smothered the beasty and plucked it out half an hour later.
Save the embarrassment - When in the hills this summer - Wear long pants tucked in your socks. Wear budgie smugglers not boxers.
Couldn't agree more with you about shifting the focus, Erik. Believing anti-biotics will easily and completely cure late-stage Lyme is a false hope.
I'd not seen the Lyme article from Nicola Seal you refer to, I'd be interested to read that if you have a link.
The lady I know with it lost her job, ceased being an ardent x-country skier and kayaker, and is officially "disabled" because of Lyme.
Doctor, doctor, I've been bitten by a tick! Am I going to die?
> If you put "tick removal" in Google scholar there are several pieces of research in to the different techniques. From a quick skim, this one is quite good: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2002/0815/p643.html
> "Although there is conflicting evidence as to whether the removal technique influences infection rates,6,10,16 these methods may induce the tick to salivate and regurgitate into the attachment site, theoretically increasing the risk of infection.8,11"
Yes, I did read that website, but "theoretically increasing the risk of infection" confuses me. If the evidence is conflicting, then the theory is a bit doubtful? I'm just surprised that there don't seem to be any conclusive studies - though perhaps I just haven't looked hard enough?
> It can be treated, yes, but once it has taken a hold, it can be YEARS before it goes into remission.
I did about 3 years but it was probably a year or so before it got diagnosed and treatment proved effective. I can vouch for some of the symptoms you outline. Apart from the heart failure :-)
I can also empathise with a reference in an earlier post to 'lyme decease'. Yep - it feels a bit like that......
Slightly off-topic. There was a piece on the TV about landowners not being able to spray bracken because of EU regulations and the claim was that it would mean bracken taking over the uplands. This is complete nonsense: bracken can be controlled/eradicated by non-chemical means, it just requires a bit of "work".
Bracken is a rhizome, it stores its nutrients in the root system so in spring if you cut bracken just as the last fronds unfurl then effectively you have removed a large part of the plant's energy store. Then in autumn you cut the bracken again. This time it is just as the fronds begin to turn brown. This stops the plant from recovering the energy it has built up in the visible part of the plant. Following year - repeat. By the third year you are going round pulling up dispersed and weak plants. Easiest thing then is to get cattle on to the ground as their hooves break the fronds as they come through the surface.
> I have found that the majority of the times i get tick bites is when I walk through bracken.
Yup, totally agree - I rarely get ticks where there's no bracken, and usually get loads where there is.
I don't know whether more ticks live in bracken, or whether it just gives them an easier, higher-up point to get onto me from.
And, aye, the bracken's spreading at an incredible rate in the W Highlands :-(
'ticks play a role in ensuring only strong animals in a species survive and leave more resources for the fit, healthy animals'
Seems like an outdated 'good-of-the-species' argument. Is ecology now so desperately out of touch that it's embracing eugenics?
If you like you could look at the following papers:
Ramiro L. Gutiérrez, MD, FACP And Catherine F. Decker, MD, FACP, FIDSA (2012) "Prevention of Tick-Borne Illness" Disease-a-Month, Volume 58, Issue 6, Pages 377–387.
M. Gammons And G. Salam (2002) "Tick removal" American Family Physician, Volume 66, Issue 4, Pages 643–645.
The golden rules from what I can find are to remove ticks off as soon as you see them, as this limits transmission phase, so check yourself when you come in from walking (or better get a partner to do it, see the classic country song "Ticks" by Brad Paisley). Also, ticks are a major disease vector for Lyme disease and many other things besides, personally, I'd always check if I need vaccines; For example against Tick Borne Encephalitis if walking in areas in mainland Europe.
And I'd tuck my trousers into my socks!
And how many hectares of bracken do you personally control every year?
Thanks! Much appreciated.
I used to do bracken bashing with the BTCV in the lakes, the spores are not a problem in the spring when you do the bashing.
Interesting that it's spreading in the West Highlands - is it due to reduced grazing or climatic effects I wonder.
Same person Erik. She's currently having treatment for a second major outbreak of Chronic Lyme, having apparently been cured the first time. All from a single tick bite. Not sure about an article on here but she's put loads of stuff on the LDA website (Lyme disease action). Sorry, don't know how to put links up from this device.
Aren't clegs just horseflies with a Scottish accent?
Agree they are total bastardos, I react very badly to their bites - e.g. swelling from wrist to elbow. They are sneaky too, and often target the back of my legs where I can't see them.
Splatting them is very satisfying though.
Tick removal doesn't need fancy implements or gooey substances. I have removed 100's of ticks as follows: grip the beast between fingernail and skin (of same fingertip) and pull gently until it decides to keep its head. Squish the liberated (usually crawling) tick between 2 fingernails. Rarely fails as long as you have about 2mm of nail available.
I have had enough ticks over 40 years to be pretty sure that some of them must have carried Lyme's. I assume that I have developed immunity through low level exposure, but still remove ticks once a day.
In any case I refuse to make life on the hills miserable by wearing boots/trousers/gaiters at all times (or at any times come to that) in summer. Get a life!
Some may well have carried Lymes but not given it to you. My understanding is that you'd usually get it from them vomiting. So if you remove them well and in good time you're less likely to get it than if you don't.
Pretty certain 'immunity through low level exposure' wouldn't apply here; you either avoid the disease or you acquire it. And if you acquire it it's bad news!