/ Ticks - Be aware

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JohnnyW - on 07 May 2014
I am surprised how many of my hill friends say they have never had any. I ask myself if they just never noticed, the wee beasties fed and then buggered off unmolested?

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.

Happy camping.........
I like climbing - on 07 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

Good post ! This site is interesting:

http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/

I was also interested to read that an inoculation against Lyme disease has been discontinued.


thomaspomfrett on 07 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

They seem to be thriving this year. Picked six out of one leg after the highlander the other weekend...
Turdus torquatus on 07 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

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.
Mal Grey - on 07 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:
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.
Post edited at 10:48
Gazlynn - on 07 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

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?

cheers

Gaz
Carolyn - on 07 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

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.
girlymonkey - on 07 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

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.
toad - on 07 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

Dogs and livestock can be treated prophylactically against ticks. Why can't I put a couple of drops on the back of my neck?
Al Evans on 07 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

Do deer get Lyme disease after being infested with ticks?
redsonja - on 07 May 2014
In reply to Gazlynn:

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!
Joak - on 07 May 2014
In reply to Gazlynn:

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:)
Jack Frost - on 07 May 2014
In reply to thomaspomfrett:

> They seem to be thriving this year. Picked six out of one leg after the highlander the other weekend...

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.
Welsh Kate - on 07 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

Pulled out 7 after a 3 day wildcamping trip in mid Wales over the weekend; first ticks I've ever had :-(
Gazlynn - on 07 May 2014
In reply to redsonja:

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 :-)

cheers

Gaz
Robert Durran - on 07 May 2014
In reply to Gazlynn:

> 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'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).

IPPurewater on 07 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

There is lots of useful information here

http://www.lymediseaseaction.org.uk/
kathrync - on 07 May 2014
In reply to Carolyn:

> 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.

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.

peterj - on 07 May 2014
In reply to Jack Frost:

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.
contrariousjim - on 07 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

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.
JohnnyW - on 07 May 2014
In reply to Jack Frost:

> 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.

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.
neauk - on 07 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

Has anyone ever seen ticks in the Peak District? I'm keeping my fingers crossed, I've never come across any there....yet!
toad - on 07 May 2014
In reply to neauk:
> (In reply to JohnnyW)
>
> 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
galpinos - on 07 May 2014
In reply to thomaspomfrett:
> (In reply to JohnnyW)
>
> 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.
arctickev - on 07 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

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.

kev
gilliesp on 07 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

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!
Jonny2vests - on 07 May 2014
In reply to Gazlynn:
> 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?


Yes, I think they do. It's all to do with chemicals apparently.
Post edited at 15:33
JohnnyW - on 07 May 2014
In reply to arctickev:

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.
JohnnyW - on 07 May 2014
In reply to gilliesp:


> All that 'searching' by couples must do wonders for their love life though...eh? My mind boggled at the 'head torch' bit!

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 ;) !
JohnnyW - on 07 May 2014
In reply to Gazlynn:

> 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?

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.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Milesy - on 07 May 2014
There is a difference between having never been bitten by a tick, and having never found one. Having pulled nymph stage ticks off myself most eyes would find it hard to even spot them at all.
gilliesp on 07 May 2014
In reply to I like climbing:

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....
gilliesp on 07 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

I am 63 and getting a head torch this afternoon...

Have made a less light hearted post above just restore some dignity!
Milesy - on 07 May 2014
In reply to gilliesp:

> 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.

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.
DerwentDiluted - on 07 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

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.
gilliesp on 07 May 2014
In reply to Milesy:

Picture of a nymph stage here. Don't know if peer reviewed. Nice bit of research though - easy to follow.

http://www.macaulay.ac.uk/news/gamefairposters/LucyGilbertposter3.pdf

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.
gilliesp on 07 May 2014
In reply to Milesy:

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.
malky_c - on 07 May 2014
In reply to gilliesp:
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
Post edited at 16:48
gilliesp on 07 May 2014
In reply to malky_c:

Your doc may well be following the advice in this link, compiled by UK doctors using technical language aimed at advising health professionals.

http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/lyme-disease-pro

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.
Hammy - on 07 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

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.
ianlaw - on 07 May 2014
I like climbing - on 07 May 2014
In reply to gilliesp:

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.
Douglas Griffin - on 08 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

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.
skog - on 08 May 2014
In reply to thread:

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!
In reply to skog:

Smidge seems to keep them at bay too
Slugain Howff - on 08 May 2014
In reply to Douglas Griffin:

Lyme's disease is now a big problem in Deeside and Donside amongst outdoor workers - not sure the dangers are publicised well enough though.
skog - on 08 May 2014
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

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.
gilliesp on 08 May 2014
In reply to ianlaw:

Excellent Video. I will equip myself with a tick removal tool asap!
JohnnyW - on 08 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:
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.

Post edited at 10:27
fmck - on 08 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

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.
Andrew Smith - on 08 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

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!
Choss on 08 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

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.
toad - on 08 May 2014
In reply to broken spectre:
> (In reply to JohnnyW)
>
> 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
In reply to JohnnyW:

More on ticks today from the MCofS: http://www.ukhillwalking.com/news/item.php?id=68906
trish1968 - on 08 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

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.
Jonny2vests - on 08 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

> 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.

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.
James Jackson on 08 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

I've had to take them off my bollocks before. And a friend's ringpiece. That was a true friendship test.
Joak - on 08 May 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

The threat from ticks warranted a mention on the BBC's Reporting Scotland this evening.

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