/ Ticks - Be aware
I have just returned from 3 days camping in Fisherfield, took all the normal precautions re: no shorts, no wandering through the bracken, was wearing bloody proofs most of the time anyway.... and yet my wife (aka the Tickfinder General) has taken 5 off me since Monday.
Given how small they are before they really get cracking, they're easy to miss - She uses a headtorch and gives me a VERY thorough going over after a wildcamp.
Check yourself folks, or get checked. Lyme Disease is serious.
They seem to be thriving this year. Picked six out of one leg after the highlander the other weekend...
I've never spotted one despite spending a lot of time in the Scottish hills. However, I'm soft and so always get back for a hot shower or bath each night rather than wild camping for days. The cdc link above seems to suggest that infection is unlikely if a tick is only present for less than 24 hours.
It does seem to me that it has now become the norm to expect to get ticks when wild camping, in Scotland at least. They're definitely more prevalent these days.
On a recent canoeing week, our group found plenty - out of 12 of us, only 2 escaped being bitten, happily including myself this time.
Quite often the best camp spots are also the best places to lie up if you are a deer. Have a look for depressions in the grass/bracken etc where deer may have slept. At our first camp there was a lovely raised grassy platform above the loch. It was infested. I pitched on a rougher patch nearer the shore, the rest used the platform and found literally hundreds of tiny tick nymphs.
There was another thread recently which may add to people's understanding. http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=585791
Always good to raise it, as you say many folk don't recognise the risk.
Although I have done well over half the Munros and spent quite a bit of time in the Scottish countryside to my knowledge I have never had a tick.
Do ticks like some people more than others or have I just been very lucky?
The other time I've often picked them up is sitting around at the bottom of crags - Eskdale in particular, where the bottom of the crag is often grassy with lots of bracken.
They prefer softer skin, which is why they head to armpits, knees etc. So mmy husband hardly ever gets them, and I wouldn't be surprised if hairy blokey skin is less soft than girly skin, hence I get them lots! Its only my theory, but it could be a factor why some get them more than others.
Dogs and livestock can be treated prophylactically against ticks. Why can't I put a couple of drops on the back of my neck?
Do deer get Lyme disease after being infested with ticks?
i wondered exactly the same. I was brought up on a farm and spend most of my life outdoors but have never had a tick. yet midges bite me to bits!
Twenty years ago I used to head into the summer hills/wild camp regularly in shorts, no probs with ticks. Nowadays I always wear long trousers and take anti tick countermeasures and still seem to attract them. Maybe it's something to do with me mellowing with age:)
SIX?? I removed 27, and was still finding them on the Wednesday :-( mind you it was my own fault as I wore shorts both days.
Pulled out 7 after a 3 day wildcamping trip in mid Wales over the weekend; first ticks I've ever had :-(
I'm the same with midges they seem to love me.
I't just seems weird that I can go out for a day in the hills and my companions have found ticks where I have never.
I mustn't be very tasty to them which I can wholly understand :-)
I'm the same; I take no precautions and hardly ever get one, while others take every paranoid precaution imaginable and get covered in them. The only danger for me is complacency (I do still do the odd check).
Yeah, one year I picked over 20 off myself after walking in to the Etive slabs (I didn't even hang around at the bottom long). The bracken was high, but I was wearing full length trousers, long sleeves and insect repellent and they were still everywhere. What was worse was the ones that were crawling all over me but hadn't bitten yet...
I reckon some people just attract them more than others, in the same way that some people seem to be more attractive to midges.
They were out in force for the Higlander, wore shorts the first day but not the second, legs were covered, over 25 of them, found most the same day, but was still picking them out a few days later.
They definitely like some more than others, the other 3 people in our group had no ticks, I always pick them up.
Worst I had was after climbing at Craigh Dhu. Had 10 just in my left oxter! Numerous others! This year definitely seems bad. They were out in force in March.. ..I found a couple on myself everyday I was up in the NW of Scot, and on the worst day found 12 on my son including one large fully engorged one on his scalp. My friend had a few bites too including one which produced the classic lymes rash, that was from the Skye area.
Oh Jack, believe me, this was a mere tiny session - After taking the my boys camping on Beinn Fhada, and bringing them down through the bracken, (the poor wee fellas were head height), my wife pulled scores off us. At least 25 apiece.
They were incredibly stoic for 8 and 10 year olds, naked on the kitchen table, with Tracey in her tick-finder headtorch!
Mind, it was her I felt for when it came to my turn, given some of the crevices she had to explore! Greater love hath no woman...... :)
No - I just think they are definitely becoming more prevalent, and the fact I know how to lessen the chances of picking 'em up, and still ended up with them this weekend kind of lends weight to the mild, wet winters meaning there are more surviving to feed on us.
Has anyone ever seen ticks in the Peak District? I'm keeping my fingers crossed, I've never come across any there....yet!
> Has anyone ever seen ticks in the Peak District? I'm keeping my fingers crossed, I've never come across any there....yet!
Not common on the high moors of the dark peak. for professional reasons, I've spent time face down in the heather without picking up passengers, but I wouldn't rule them out somewhere like Big Moor which has a deer population
> They seem to be thriving this year. Picked six out of one leg after the highlander the other weekend...
As the other poster said, SIX!
My wife stopped couting at 40..... Never been bitten by a tick before. I'm quite hairy and wouldn't say I have the softest skin so not sure where that leaves girlymonkey's theory.
Bizarrely, my running partner, who must have taken a near exact route, didn't have one.
Do you twist or pull straight out with the funny tweezers?
Seems to be a variety of advice.
I think a few drops of tea tree oil mixed with water 50/50 in a spray bottle sprayed on your legs etc is a good way of deterring them.
Their attraction to one person (in great numbers) and total lack of interest to his/her hill mate always perplexes me. My hill mate and I are like that with him registering many more hits than me??? Research topic maybe.
All that 'searching' by couples must do wonders for their love life though...eh? My mind boggled at the 'head torch' bit!
Yes, I think they do. It's all to do with chemicals apparently.
We use the tick pullers that you get for the dogs - http://www.petdrugsonline.co.uk/p-1370-otom-tick-remover.aspx?VariantID=1458&CAWELAID=1360820895...
They work a treat.
For years I just used fine-nose tweezers, and they work almost as good, as long as you can get at them. For those 'awkward' places (;), pullers are much better.
When you're a hairy bugger like me, strong light is necessary for the, er, less accessible areas, (where all self-respecting ticks love of course!)
Dunno about the love life....at 50, 'that' kind of intimacy is not what it was ;) !
Depends on when you walked them, how you were dressed (gaiters, long trousers etc), what type of ground you passed through, and whether you camped.
Have a look at this as it pertains to UK. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Lyme-disease/Pages/Introduction.aspx Also has worthwhile links. 2000 to 3000 incidences of the disease each year in England and Wales alone. WOW!!! Very concerning.
It would be interesting to view not just tick distribution but Lyme Disease 'hotspots' in UK as this would give us all a 'heads up' and we would know what we were getting into as we planned out outings.
I am in hills a lot and not had a tick for ages but last summer in Scotland was eaten alive by midges and clegs. Heading over Fannaichs and Fisherfields to Poolewe soon. Getting a we bitty paranoid....
I am 63 and getting a head torch this afternoon...
Have made a less light hearted post above just restore some dignity!
The problem is reconciling where the suspected tick came from, where it was found and where it was reported.
And of course many cases are "suspected" lymes in a lot of places such as when I got ill a week or two after removing ticks. I managed to get preventative antibiotics but they refused to do any tests on me.
I've been going to a croft between Alligin and Diabaig in Torridon since I was a baby, For about 30 years ticks were never an issue. The land was grazed by sheep and they were all dipped in sheep dip (nasty organ of phosphates no doubt). About 10 years ago the sheep were confined to the more grassy pastures and the open land was fenced off and left to the deer and wild goats, since then tick populations seem to have grown exponentially. I'm not sure how this equates for all of Scotland but seems true in Torridon.
Picture of a nymph stage here. Don't know if peer reviewed. Nice bit of research though - easy to follow.
University of Aberdeen researchers.
Hints at distribution areas with percentages of ticks carrying LD. Recent annual increases are disturbing.
Illustrates that woodland recreation is a more likely LD contact situation. Similar to tick borne encephalitis in wooded parts of Europe - really serious probability if you go for a wee walk in, for example, Bavaria.
There therefore must still be an issue in getting some (many?) GPs to react pro-actively regarding testing, when a patient presents with suspected Lyme Disease. Maybe, just by issuing the meds, all bases are covered but I was led to believe from earlier reading that antibiotics have to be 'matched' to the condition re - which cocktail of them and duration and dose were required.
Dunno. I've found a couple this year and developed a rash (which is much more likely to be ringworm than Lyme disease). The doctor prescribed antibiotics for ringworm, but claimed that she would be writing the same prescription if it was Lyme disease
Your doc may well be following the advice in this link, compiled by UK doctors using technical language aimed at advising health professionals.
This document is well worth a read. It does mention no need for blood tests and refers to ringworm too.
However I was amazed to read that 'Lyme disease is rarely fatal. Prognosis is usually good, even in untreated cases' This latter part is at odds with most of what I've previously read.
A few years ago we had a house near Ambleside which had a lovely garden which backed out on to Loughrigg Fell. Our (then) youngsters played out in the garden most days.
On returning to the house the daily regime was to announce 'tick check' whereupon we used to remove most of their clothes and check and remove the offending insects (usually several).
The ticks never seemed to cause them any harm.
This is useful too... https://www.thebmc.co.uk/modules/video.aspx?id=32&s=2
Thanks for the link. This is a serious problem that I am becoming more worried about. I plan to go to the Fisherfield before the end of May but may have a rethink.
I like your idea of making everyone aware of Lyme hotspots and I hope this gets done soon. After all there are midge maps.
One of my daughter's friends had 30+ ticks removed from her after their visit to Mull last weekend.
Despite having spent a lot of time in the hills from 1990 onwards, first time I ever found one on myself was in 2008. Fairly regular event now whenever I spend time off well-worn paths (which is often). Definitely an increasing problem, and a very worrying one.
Treating clothes with permethrin may be the answer - I know of a couple of people who have said that this works.
Ticks have always loved me; I find tens embedded every year despite constant paranoid checking when in ticky areas.
More worryingly, they seem fond of my kids, too. My wife was rarely bothered by them, but that seems to have changed since her pregancies, which may well be a body chemistry thing.
I also agree that there are a lot more ticks than there used to be; I suspect this is partly due to the increase in bracken, and increasing deer numbers aren't going to help the situation.
They're common over in Sweden, too, where TBE in an increasing problem - to the point they've started vaccinating against it. At least we don't have a problem with that here (yet?)
I'm getting increasingly worried about Lyme disease, particularly for the kids; I'm also not sure I'd know if any of us had it - symptoms seem quite variable, and overlap with lots of other things.
I've just ordered some permethrin clothes spray, and will report back when I know whether it's making much difference. I should be a good test of it!
Smidge seems to keep them at bay too
Lyme's disease is now a big problem in Deeside and Donside amongst outdoor workers - not sure the dangers are publicised well enough though.
I can confirm, for me personally, that Smidge does not appear to do anything to keep ticks away, and I can't say I noticed it making any difference with midges either.
My wife thinks she noticed a reduction in midges biting her when she used smidge; I do think these things can vary a lot from person to person.
Excellent Video. I will equip myself with a tick removal tool asap!
Wull, the Tickfinder General got another off my arm last night. Where's the wee rascal been hiding since the weekend!? Thing is, (and this is my point about folks not realising they have them), it just looked like a small spot until closer inspection. Easy to just scratch or try to burst. She got a good photo, so I'll try and post to illustrate.
February 8th this year I removed 2 ticks from my dog walking in Cowal. Earliest for me. Guy at work got 2 last week on the beach checking work boundry in Ayrshire. Lived here 45 years and never known people to get them here before.
I've had to remove them from my Dogs twice now, and that was in Feb. Granted I was walking them in an area of rough scrub, but I'm not in a rural area, I'm just in Warrington!
Dog folks note, FrontLine works on Ticks, but is next to useless on fleas these days.
Stronghold and advocate works on fleas but not on Ticks. I tend to use alternately through the summer.
> Dog folks note, FrontLine works on Ticks, but is next to useless on fleas these days.
> Stronghold and advocate works on fleas but not on Ticks. I tend to use alternately through the summer.
I've got Bayer Advantix from the vet after I mentioned a Scottish trip to her
More on ticks today from the MCofS: http://www.ukhillwalking.com/news/item.php?id=68906
Johnny knows I've been diagnosed with Lyme disease but for those who don't I got a huge tick in my stomach in Tanzania. I removed it alive and had the tell tale circular mark for a few days. I forgot all about it as I was on a month long expedition came home felt tired a lot went on a work trip to West Africa was feeling very run down and ill. I ended up having lots of tests in hospital for Malaria etc eventually they diagnosed me with Lyme disease and I was treated with antibiotics. In hind site it explained the way I was feeling before the treatment.
So moral of the story prevention and if you get the circle tell tale mark go to the docs and get tested.
That's a factor for sure, but some people are chemically more attractive to ticks, mosquitoes, midges etc etc. There is sound research supporting it.
I've had to take them off my bollocks before. And a friend's ringpiece. That was a true friendship test.
The threat from ticks warranted a mention on the BBC's Reporting Scotland this evening.
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