/ Lymes disease warning
Just be aware of the symptoms guys. Check after each walk.
Really nasty! This UKH article might be helpful if anyone needs further info... How to Avoid Ticks and Lyme disease:
A friend of mine last week in Wales might have got it on Tremadog. It seems cases are becoming more frequent.
If this turns out to be a case of lymes disease I think the BMC need to know. Implications for climbers at Tremadog
Interested to know what the host for these ticks. There aren't that many deer in NE Wales (so I'm told).
They're smaller sheep ticks, so in Wales you'll find them on vegetation in all areas where there may be sheep, plus areas where there are none, the latter due to ticks not being very clever but seemingly highly opportunistic - as in any cat, dog or human will do. You don't need to be near bracken or grass either. One once crawled onto my hand off a rock in Craig Cwm Silyn's descent gully.
My mate did 2 routes on Tremadog on the 26th of May and one of 2 bites flared up. He got straight onto antibiotics and for now seems ok. After only 6 hours the tick was removed and the bite formed an outer ring. The bite was under his shirt on the side of his torso.
I'm aware Scotland is worse but with all the sheep I would have thought Wales too would have its fair share.
If I give the BMC a call and tell them, do you think they might be able to successfully rebrand it?
> After only 6 hours the tick was removed and the bite formed an outer ring.
I had a characteristic ring around a mystery bite last year - the nurse put me on the antibiotics for Lyme although the searing pain and then the blister that formed the next day convinced me it was a horsefly.
Still Mrs Wintertree nagged me in to going to the docs. She wouldn’t let me pick the scab off either. The scab turned out to actually be leather like dead skin from the blister, and it prevented the healing process from working until I bit it off 3 weeks later to reveal a right mess underneath.
What I think happened is that the clag bite allowed an opportunistic fungal infection in, causing the ring. But I was quite slow to blister up, leaving it looking like Lymes for a while.
I learnt not to take the Lyme disease antibiotic pills dry before lying down to sleep. Major burning oesophagus pain. Always drink with your pills! My wife learnt to leave me alone to pick scans etc.
Edit: with a tick there it was very sensible of your friend to go to the docs - I hope they have no lasting consequences. My rambling post was really just to say that I think secondary staph and/or fungal infenctions can also make a ring around a bite, but better safe than sorry!
Sounds like Lymes is maybe the most dangerous part of being a climber in the UK these days. Hopefully the vaccine passes the trials and becomes available (if the news is true)
Picked two up today on the North Harris Grahams. I always check myself after a days outing. I guess thus far I've been lucky.
My son got one at his school in West London.
Spoke to several people after the LAMM on Harris at the weekend who's had upwards of 10 or 20 of them. I was lucky and only found 1 - this was also the first time I've coated my legs in Smidge each morning - could have been coincidence of course but I'll be continuing the experiment...
Thanks for the prompt. My husband found a tiny weeny tick on the dog's eyebrow after a weekend of charging round in bracken, and removed it with a tick card, but this, and the thread about ticks on babies, has prompted me to order a couple of pairs of tick tweezers so we have them to hand.
Millions of them down in our SE London parkland. Constantly checking myself
Really bad in the lakes it’s definitely getting worse!
> Really bad in the lakes it’s definitely getting worse!
Can agree with that, there certainly doesn't need to be any bracken around. The O'Tom tick removers are excellent.
Cases aren't more frequent they are just getting identified/diagnosed as guidelines for GPs and Clinicians came into effect this year.
My opinion is that you should always have a small first aid kit when you go out climbing and that should include a tick-tool capable of removing nymphs and adults (not humans).
> The O'Tom tick removers are excellent.
They are. But they are not always effective in getting the very smallest of the nymphs off. So I'd recommend some very fine-nosed tweezers as well.
I am sure I was told by a German recently that they have a Lyme Disease prevention injection in Germany. She had also received the inoculation but I can’t find any up to date mention of it. I believe one was withdrawn from the market around 2002.......
After finding few ticks last time I was out, I was considering shaving my furry legs. It's so difficult to spot them when my legs are covered in dark hair...
I think its definitely on the up. I never picked up any ticks at all, until about 10 years ago. So that's about 35 years of bracken bashing etc without any. Not only that, I did get infected from a bite which gave me several years of problems. So my take is that there are a lot more ticks about now that there used to be. I wonder if global warming is having an effect where we don't have the really prolonged cold spells in winter and/or theres less insecticides about now.
> I am sure I was told by a German recently that they have a Lyme Disease prevention injection in Germany. She had also received the inoculation but I can’t find any up to date mention of it. I believe one was withdrawn from the market around 2002.......
I think that's for tick-borne encephalitis rather than Lyme disease.
Thanks - I think you’re right
> They're smaller sheep ticks, so in Wales you'll find them on vegetation in all areas where there may be sheep, plus areas where there are none, the latter due to ticks not being very clever but seemingly highly opportunistic - as in any cat, dog or human will do. You don't need to be near bracken or grass either. One once crawled onto my hand off a rock in Craig Cwm Silyn's descent gully.
Gosh, Dave, that's a bit harrowing! Also your detailed description on the other thread.
I've only been bitten by a tick once in my life (Glen Etive in the 70s ) and the horror of these things being all over the place makes me glad my life has been so sheltered (well, somewhat glad.
This is a rather dense and a bit (2011) old overview - your GP seems to be well up on things
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK57011/ [ skip to the last bit ]
The bottom line is
1) we are pretty ignorant
2) there's a range of organisms
3) yes they do get sequestered
4) it's war out there between our immune systems and pathogens. We are just caught in the middle
When I was a kid I never heard a thing about ticks unless you were at the vets, and we were always playing in the long grass. Nowadays I wouldn't go near long grass, and always have to check myself and any dogs I'm with. It surely has to be a bit of an epidemic now, they are everywhere wild animals are.
I'm a bit surprised at the number of people who seem to have rarely encountered ticks before.
They may well be on the increase, but they've always loved me and they're always abundant in mid spring to early summer; over the four (and a bit) decades of my life, I have, without any exaggeration, had well over a hundred embedded in me, often several in one day.
I'm paranoid about them and detest them, so only very occasionally have they stayed in for very long, but I've had many days when I've found tens of them crawling up me, and inevitable the odd one gets through. I've had one day in Knoydart in June when I picked over a hundred off my clothes, and another time on the hills north of Loch Maree in May when I lost count, and it may have been worse.
I've never, to my knowledge, had Lyme, but I'm concerned about the risk now and have started treating my trousers (and my wife's, and our daughters') with permethrin, which seems to help significantly.
Probably coincidence, but I started noticing them after the nastier forms of sheep dip were banned...
About 6 weeks ago I found what I thought was a oil stain on my arm when lifting an outboard. The next day it turned into a bulls eye rash with clearly a bite in the middle. I kind of suspected what it meant and showed it to a friend who stalks deer. He was deadly serious about wasting no time and go directly to A & E. After a 3 hour wait due to being so busy the guy didn't know what to do until his senior came in grabbed my arm and said it was just a bruise. Fortunately I didn't leave it at that and got an appointment with my GP. She was spot on the ball and got me on doxycyline immediately. She couldn't believe that the hospital dismissed it as a bruise. I reckon I was bitten the week before on Arran walking the dog. The rash can take weeks after the initial bite.
> ... I wonder if global warming is having an effect where we don't have the really prolonged cold spells in winter ...
I was hoping that perhaps the long cold Winter we had this year might have put a damper on things, but not so: there seem to be more of the little buggers about than ever.
> Probably coincidence, but I started noticing them after the nastier forms of sheep dip were banned...
I think you're right. All the Welsh farmers, conservation staff and national park staff I've discussed this with have all been of the same opinion. No one really seems to think climate change has anything to do with it. We've just had a proper winter and yet they're out in droves once again. What was once a predominantly Scottish issue is now endemic to the whole of the UK.
Solve one serious problem, then create another as a consequence.
> Sounds like Lymes is maybe the most dangerous part of being a climber in the UK these days.
Well, that, and not falling off and decking it.
I got a tic bite 7 days ago and just been prescribed doxycyline 2 days ago for the same red ring on my ankle. How did you find the outcome was? Did you need further tests done after? Iv lived and played in tic hotspots my whole life and never had one and was pretty clueless about the signs/ symptoms until now.
There are 2 specific blood tests for Lyme antibodies. If you were tested immediately, the results may not show anything and be a false negative. You need to wait awhile - and they probably won't go to the expense of testing your bloods unless there's further issues. See my last post here (and please don't get alarmed):
If you got onto the medication at the first sign I wouldn't worry. That's the critical step from what I've been told. Stopping the bacteria from getting it's foot in the door and establishing itself in your body is your main goal and for me was all I really wanted. The lack of knowledge is probably it's best defence. The worrying thing is how little knowledge there is especially with the medical profession. Last week one of our guys got a tick bite repairing a water main and was a first in all the years we have worked here. I put together a tool box talk and included loads of pictures to try educate everyone on the dangers. Surprisingly the guys really took it on board and for the first time everyone took the subject very seriously. This is no longer a hill goers problem and is now at our front door.
I was told we had to wait for 3 weeks in order to achieve 60% success rate in detecting. When the results came back it just said no further action. Not the most convincing results!
My understanding is that the existing tests can give false negatives and that advice is to administer antibiotics as soon as symptoms or rash appear. Once established it is difficult to address. I was on two years of heavy antibiotics
There are also tests available to check any ticks you remove from yourself to see if they are carrying the causative agent. If positive you can then see your GP to start treatment earlier thus minimising the risk of long term illness.
I think there must have been an increase in tick density or voraciousness in Borrowdale - I've had 3 ticks in 5 visits, the last yesterday at Black Crag and someone else there suffered one. Can't remember having a problem there before recent visits
Picked up two ticks on my feet at the Roaches at the weekend. No where near the long grass. Possibly on the upper tier sitting 'neath the Sloth. Only noticed them when I got home but the last time I changed shoes was on the upper tier. Could have picked them up on the way down but again, on the path and not near long grass or bracken
I have never knowingly had a tick bite in the UK despite years tramping around the Lakes and Peak, I thought that I was immune. Last week on the Lahn river in Germany I picked up 8 and my partner 3. I am now being more vigilant.
> There are also tests available to check any ticks you remove from yourself to see if they are carrying the causative agent. If positive you can then see your GP to start treatment earlier thus minimising the risk of long term illness.
I followed the link above and discovered the kits cost a tenner a pop. If you spend a lot of time tramping over bracken-covered fells it could start costing a lot of money.
I use a homemade tick repellant, made with geranium oil and cider vinegar. See this article for the recipe:
plus I add 10 drops per 100ml to my sun cream.
Since I've been doing this I haven't picked up a single tick.
I've always relied on visually checking my legs, ankles, shoes for parasites immediately after walking through long grass or bushes. Only takes a few seconds. I've recently been walking/hiking in Jersey, Croatia, Texas, California and England, and have used the same tactic in all places. In my experience, ticks usually like to swim up ones legs (so surreptitiously one usually does not notice) to the crucial region, rather than digging straight in. On dogs, they usually move up to soft tissue, such as the ear lobes.
Can you really sea them though? Te nymphs are only a mm or so accross
I don't live too far from Lyme, Connecticut where the whole awful mess started. The Hudson Valley has been Lyme Disease Central in the US for many years now. I've had three cases of it, one kinda bad, before I got serious about prevention.
The main thing is to treat your clothes with Permethrin. Permethrin doesn't just repel ticks; it kills them. Pants, socks, shirt, shoes if they are fabric, the whole outfit. Put it on your pack and your tent if you're camping.
I've taken to wearing (treated) knee-high compression socks (the sort runners wear). I think these are a must if you are wearing shorts, but are especially effective under long pants, because then the tick has got to climb up your leg between two treated surfaces. If you can pick up ticks on climbs (i.e. you're wearing rock shoes) then you can use the runner's calf sleeves and still have bare feet in your boots.
Treatments are supposed to last through about six washings. I may be overly compulsive, but I actually count and re-treat after five.
That leaves bare skin. I and lot of US climbers have taken to wearing sun blocking shirts in the summer as a much more effective solution than sunscreen. Some examples are http://www.patagonia.com/product/mens-sunshade-technical-hoody/52657.html?dwvar_52657_color=TGY&cgid=collections-sun-protection-mens#tile-9=&start=1&sz=24 , or https://www.outdoorresearch.com/us/en/mens-ensenada-sun-hoody/p/2440480050008 , or https://arcteryx.com/us/en/shop/mens/phasic-sun-hoody . If you wear such a shirt and treat it, then there is very little bare skin left. As far as I can tell, DEET is best for that.
Is there a difference between sheep and deer ticks? I thought they were all Ixodes ricinus
They're pretty grim in the Lakes this year. I picked up three in a mile on my way up to Walla Crag from Keswick at the weekend. Two weekends before, going off the paths around the Coniston/Duddon area, I must have caught 6-7 on me before they dug in, and removed a further 4 at the campsite that had started feeding. They were bad enough that I've bought tick tweezers to take on the Saunders with me this weekend!
The last two highlanders I did I managed a minimum of 40 ticks. With long tights and socks I manged to reduce that to two on the LAMM this year.
I'm seriously considering buying some long socks before the weekend. It's definitely too hot for tights but knee socks might make a bit of a difference.
All the ticks that have ever got onto me have been several mm's across.
Yep, it's for FSME (Frühsommer Meningoenzephalitis = Early-summer meningo-encephalitis). It's a series of three shots.
As far as I know there are no vaccinations on the market for Lyme's.
> All the ticks that have ever got onto me have been several mm's across.
Nymph ticks are tiny, as Red Rover says - 1mm across or less - and they are correspondingly tricky to remove. Despite their size they are vectors of the disease: so take them seriously.
Tremadog is pretty bad, all that sitting on grass ledges belaying, I got it 2 years ago, antibiotics worked but I waited too long to get them
Doxycycline is the antibiotic of choice for Lymes and is notorious for causing oesophagitis if not washed down into the stomach so take plenty of fluids post pill
In the last five or so years all the ticks I and Mrs Tringa have hosted have been very small - about midge size or a bit smaller and only visible because of their colour. Don't know why as before then all the ticks were larger and very easily visible.
It clear that while untreated Lyme disease is potentially very serious, it is still, thankfully, fairly uncommon in the UK.
I've lost count of the number of ticks I've had (my record is 5 in an afternoon when working in the garden) and I don't know if the area where I do most of my walking (NW Scotland) has a low incidence of infected ticks but, so far, I have had no ill effects.
I'm a magnet for them. Once got one on the soft bit of my eyelid- that was interesting. Probably pulled off hundreds over my life and have never had an infection. Maybe because i don't hang around about just pulling the critter out as soon as i feel it.
The annoying thing is that an effective vaccine against Lyme disease exists.
After 50+ years in the hills I've never picked up any ticks until this last week in the NW Highlands when I had to remove two over different days. I was wearing leggings for god's sake so thought I was safe. I'm now waiting for the Lyme's Disease to kick in. How long does it take? My former climbing partner has Lyme's Disease and it is pretty unpleasant to witness.
Is there a "bullseye rash" around either bite? If so go to hospital now. If you think you might have any symptoms, go to hospital now.
If not there's a fair chance it won't. Not all of them are carriers.
I also am surprised at people who haven't encountered ticks. Whilst at the Devon O B in 1964 I recall students picking up ticks. Over the years I have had to remove many and have a sense that I attract them - if companions have suffered from the odd one then I almost always had more. I think that there are more, in the early days I picked them up after being in moorland or in mountains whilst now it has been on roadside crags or lowland farmland.
Still never had one. They mustn't like the taste...
I didn't get a rash, but after about a week got very bad flu like symptoms (obviously without the runny nose!) and aching joints. Four weeks of antibiotics and all seems ok two years on.
I should add my doctor is also a climber so was well versed in Lyme. If you doctor isn't and you've got symptoms keep pressing them for treatment as you don't want it festering.
Anyway, hope you haven't got it, but all the best if you have!
Lyme disease is horrible. Hard to find the ticks and it can stick around for a long time even with treatment. Someone I know had it and is still dealing with symptoms over a year later.
I think i’ll be getting some permethrin spray for my walking gear.
Good advice thanks.
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