/ Ticks and Lyme Disease

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ogreville on 08 May 2017
Hi,

just back from Glencoe, where we accumulated 15 ticks between the two of us. We removed them all within 24hrs with care, using the correct methods etc.

I'm not that bothered about it but my girlfriend had 13 of them, so wants to go to the doctor to be checked out for Lyme disease. What's everyones take on this? It's quite common to get ticks, right?

According to a couple of back-of-fag-packet calculations I did, looking at around 300 confirmed Lyme Disease cases CONFIRMED each year, it's more likely for a conjoined twin to be born.

Has anyone else felt the inclination to go to the doctor without symptoms like the bulls eye showing? Would it be prudent, considering the number she has.

Zebdi - on 08 May 2017
In reply to ogreville:

Not really, I'd wait for the symptoms to show first. To be honest, I'd be more worried about tick-borne encephalitis (or meningitis, meningoencephalitis..) Lyme disease is easily curable if it's diagnosed in its early stages.
Jack Frost on 08 May 2017
In reply to ogreville:

After last year's Highlander MM, I had > 30 ticks on my legs. Tweezered them off once I got home and got on with it. I'm sure there will be others along shortly with larger numbers but I wouldn't bother the overworked NHS unless symptoms show.
Andy Nisbet - on 08 May 2017
In reply to ogreville:

Difficult one when you're worried. Everyone who works outdoors in the Highlands gets them (although some women seem to attract them). And generally folk don't go to the doctors unless they have symptoms. I must have had thousands over the years. But in case you think I'm saying to forget it, I know several folk who have had Lyme Disease. But I would say no, if you want a simple answer. Watch for symptoms though.
birks3746 - on 08 May 2017
In reply to ogreville:
Mate had no other symptoms apart from tiredness until he had a heart attack, his diet is now heavily restricted - no alcohol!! Don't want to scaremonger but it's better safe than sorry
ogreville on 08 May 2017
In reply to Jack Frost:

thank all,

good info.


> After last year's Highlander MM, I had > 30 ticks on my legs.

lovely! legs must have looked like chewbacca!

Greasy Prusiks on 08 May 2017
In reply to ogreville:

Here's the NHS guidelines...

You should see your GP if you develop any of the symptoms described above after being bitten by a tick, or if you think you may have been bitten. Make sure you let your GP know if you've spent time in woodland or heath areas where ticks are known to live.
Diagnosing Lyme disease is often difficult as many of the symptoms are similar to other conditions. A spreading rash some days after a known tick bite should be treated with appropriate antibiotics without waiting for the results of a blood test.
Blood tests can be carried out to confirm the diagnosis after a few weeks, but these can be negative in the early stages of the infection. You may need to be re-tested if Lyme disease is still suspected after a negative test result.

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Lyme-disease/Pages/Introduction.aspx
JimR - on 08 May 2017
In reply to ogreville:

Look out for rash, if it appears go straight to doctors and get antibiotics. The Lyme tests are not good with many false negatives. If your worried I'd be tempted to go to doctor and convey your concerns. A fortnight s worth of antibiotics at that stage is better than months of the stuff later. I was on antibiotics for nearly 2 years which wrecked my guts to sort it out.
Jim C - on 08 May 2017
In reply to ogreville:
I would sting yourself with 10 bees a day for 3 days ( after meals)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-39847897
Post edited at 22:11
shuffle - on 08 May 2017
In reply to ogreville:

I went to the Dr recently after I found a very engorged tick on me. My Dr was going to prescribe antibiotics but when he checked the dosage guidelines, he found that the protocol was to wait and see if any of the symptoms (bullseye rash, flu like illness) appeared so he sent me on my way with strict instructions to return if they did.

I'd assume all Drs will follow similar protocol so I wouldn't think there is any need to go if you/your girlfriend don't have symptoms.
Dave Perry - on 09 May 2017
In reply to ogreville:

Ticks infect humans by disgorging their stomach contents into your blood stream.

All the science based websites dealing with ticks suggest that the tick won't do this until its been on you for over 48 hours. Or until you make them sick by trying various snake oil removal methods such as covering them with vaseline, oil, petrol, burning and so on.

Andy Nisbet - on 09 May 2017
In reply to Dave Perry:

> Ticks infect humans by disgorging their stomach contents into your blood stream. All the science based websites dealing with ticks suggest that the tick won't do this until its been on you for over 48 hours. Or until you make them sick by trying various snake oil removal methods such as covering them with vaseline, oil, petrol, burning and so on.

It's the opposite. You mustn't put Vaseline, oil etc. on because they eject their stomach contents into you, which makes it more likely to get Lyme Disease. By the way, I took 10 out of me after a trip to the Etive Slabs yesterday, and it isn't unusual.
andyjohnson0 - on 09 May 2017
In reply to ogreville:
I wear cargo shorts for walking, including in various parts of Scotland. Is this now considered foolishly reckless and and I didn't get the memo? Should I be wearing long trousers? I'm going to Skye for a week of backpacking at the end of the month, so it would be nice to know.

As far as I know I've never picked up a tick in 20+ years walking in Scotland, although recently I have started checking my lower body at the end of each day and I carry a tick removal tool.
Post edited at 09:48
andyjohnson0 - on 09 May 2017
In reply to Andy Nisbet:
I don't speak for Rob, but I read his comment as meaning that disgorging happens after 48 hours, or earlier if you antagonise the tick. So I think you're in agreement.

Btw, I thought the lower limit was 24 hours? http://www.dunveganmedicalpractice.co.uk/index.php/ticks-information-for-patients
Post edited at 09:47
Tony Jones - on 09 May 2017
In reply to andyjohnson0:

> As far as I know I've never picked up a tick in over 20 years, although recently I have started checking my lower body at the end of each day and I carry a tick removal tool.

This is interesting but not seemingly unusual. When I've spent time with a group of friends in tick-infested environments we all regularly display different levels of infestation compared to each other. One person never gets any, one always has more than anyone else, and the rest of us have levels somewhere in between.


Neil Williams - on 09 May 2017
In reply to birks3746:
> Mate had no other symptoms apart from tiredness until he had a heart attack, his diet is now heavily restricted - no alcohol!! Don't want to scaremonger but it's better safe than sorry

Was he formally diagnosed with Lyme by the NHS? There is an awful lot of quackery about that likes to blame it for other things.

(Not saying that's true of him, but do some Googling to see what I mean)
Post edited at 10:02
Neil Williams - on 09 May 2017
In reply to Jim C:
"believes she has Lyme" (but presumably hasn't been tested)

Plus the quackery style treatment...this one sounds a bit like exactly what I said

It doesn't help, to be fair, that the NHS is terrible at investigating fatigue-type cases, so it's not surprising people go off on their own on a bunch of assumptions.
Post edited at 10:05
birks3746 - on 09 May 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:
Yep. Took a little time and lots of lab tests through the foreign diseases department but Lymes disease was the eventual diagnosis.
Simon Caldwell - on 09 May 2017
In reply to JimR:
> Look out for rash, if it appears go straight to doctors and get antibiotics.

Worth bearing in kind that the rash only occurs in a minority of cases (about a fifth).

In reply to Dave Perry:

> All the science based websites dealing with ticks suggest that the tick won't do this until its been on you for over 48 hours.

That's the general advice, yes, but some respectable studies are beginning to question this.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4278789/
http://www.mvtimes.com/2016/07/13/visiting-physician-sheds-new-light-lyme-disease/

Neil Williams - on 09 May 2017
In reply to birks3746:

Fair enough. It just seems an easy one for people to believe they have because of the generalised symptoms when there's often another actual cause, be that coeliac, hypothyroidism, excessively low heart rate and a million other things that can cause serious fatigue and connected issues.
Neil Williams - on 09 May 2017
In reply to Tony Jones:

I've never had one. Indeed, I've only ever *seen* one, which was on one of my Scouts.
airborne - on 09 May 2017
In reply to ogreville:

This is the bizarre thing. As per other replies, I can pick up dozens of the buggers on a big day out, but others I am with - covering exactly the same ground - don't get any. Beyond weird. It's like I'm a tick magnet.
Robert Durran - on 09 May 2017
In reply to Tony Jones:

> This is interesting but not seemingly unusual.

I take no precautions and very rarely get a tick, while some people I'm with who are completely paranoid about precautions get covered in them. I wonder what it is that ticks don't like about me?
petestack - on 09 May 2017
In reply to andyjohnson0:

> Should I be wearing long trousers?

Not saying no, but it doesn't always help. I spent a weekend in Knoydart with long trousers tucked into socks as so often advised and simply ended up with my ankles ringed by ticks just below the tops of my socks. They can get into places and crawl, and like to do so.

> although recently I have started checking my lower body at the end of each day and I carry a tick removal tool.

So, because they crawl, you can also find them on your top half even if they didn't get in that way. Light-coloured clothing undoubtedly makes them easier to spot, but the tiny nymphoid ones are almost impossible to see anyway and all clothing worn through tick-infested areas remains suspect till washed!
George Allan - on 09 May 2017
In reply to petestack:

You have to admire ticks- the little devils are well adapted for their purposes. Tucked in socks are no defence. I even read somewhere that some can survive the washing machine!

Last summer I went for the full armoury; a) Saltidin (Icaridin) spray on legs/ankles, around waist and on wrists (I prefer Saltidin to DEET as the former doesn't damage fabrics and, from what I can gather, is reasonably effective against ticks) b) gaitors c) brush off clothes on return to car.

Seemed to work but one summer and one person is hardly a controlled trial!
Jim C - on 09 May 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:
> I take no precautions and very rarely get a tick, while some people I'm with who are completely paranoid about precautions get covered in them. I wonder what it is that ticks don't like about me?

I walked in Glencoe at the weekend in shorts , I got no ticks .
I checked through the day and on return home , not a one ( plenty of grass and sheep around too)

Maybe they don't like sun cream factor 30!
Post edited at 17:35
krikoman - on 09 May 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I wonder what it is that ticks don't like about me?

Your blasé attitude

Dave Perry - on 09 May 2017
In reply to Andy Nisbet:
Andy, thats what I said although it may not have been very clear in my post. I reffered to using vaseline etc., as snake oil recipes.
Post edited at 19:15
Kean - on 09 May 2017
In reply to ogreville:

Just as an "Italian perspective"...I'm based just south of the Dolomites, and certain areas of the southern Dolomites are so infested with ticks they have signs warning walkers of the problem. The situation is really bad. I once did a walk, about 8 hours, I'd been told just how bad the tick situation was, but also that the walk was absolutely spectacular, and that if I could deal with the tick problem, it was well worth the effort, so decided that the more bare skin I had the easier it would be to check for the buggers along the way, so I opted for cycling shorts and bare-chest (roasting hot summer's day). I removed no fewer than 77 ticks, basically stopping every so often to do a body check.
So there you have it. Yomp naked...no problem.
Several friends have had tick-borne encephalitis and the situation is getting worse...so I'm guessing the situation is also getting worse in Scotland...?
A friend went to the doctor just the other day after getting bitten and the doctor's reaction seemed to be similar to other people's experiences on this thread. "Come back if you have symptoms".
Dave the Rave on 09 May 2017
In reply to Andy Nisbet:

> It's the opposite. You mustn't put Vaseline, oil etc. on because they eject their stomach contents into you, which makes it more likely to get Lyme Disease. By the way, I took 10 out of me after a trip to the Etive Slabs yesterday, and it isn't unusual.

Kin ell! Is everyone out naked? Put some clothes on and tuck yer troosers in yer socks?
Donny M - on 10 May 2017
I had my first one from Leigh Woods last week, in my belly button. Made a right mess of the removal and he left his fangs in which have itched ever since. My mate got one in the same place days later but got it out clean.

Is a bit of post tick itching normal?


badgerjockey - on 10 May 2017
In reply to Donny M:

Oh yes...
Andy Say - on 10 May 2017
In reply to JimR:

> Look out for rash, if it appears go straight to doctors and get antibiotics. The Lyme tests are not good with many false negatives. If your worried I'd be tempted to go to doctor and convey your concerns. A fortnight s worth of antibiotics at that stage is better than months of the stuff later. I was on antibiotics for nearly 2 years which wrecked my guts to sort it out.

I didn't seem to get a rash (could have been on my back?) and had a couple of years of pretty crappy 'rundownness' until the penny dropped for me and my GP. Hefty antibiotics seem to have worked OK even after a couple of years untreated.
jrck2 - on 10 May 2017
In reply to ogreville:

When I was 14 my family went on a 3 day tramp around Jura. I returned with 198 tick bites on my ankles - mostly tiddlers though. I just pulled them off and proudly showed my ankles to my friends when I went back to school. At the time I thought nothing of Lyme disease, but now I wonder if my parents were being a little irresponsible...

These days I'm more careful. I'd just keep an eye out for the symptoms and go to the doctors if you have any.
Bulls Crack - on 10 May 2017
In reply to jrck2:

198? Sure it wasn't 197 or 199? ;-)
jrck2 - on 10 May 2017
In reply to Bulls Crack:

That's what I counted... 14 year old me thought it was a huge achievement. The pride with which I remember that number has gradually changed to concern over the years.
AndrewHuddart - on 10 May 2017
In reply to ogreville:

If she's really worried, she should wait a few weeks and then try and get the tests - plural. Doing it immediately won't tell her anything - if Lymes has been contracted, she'll need to wait long enough for it to reach her blood and for antibodies to form at a high enough level to be detected in blood tests.

I spoke to Lymes expert in the US last year and his conclusion was that Lymes is just really badly understood. In terms of working out if you've got it, symptoms are hard to gauge. perhaps not even 25% of people get the rash for instance. I'd be careful with your extrapolation because a huge number of cases aren't diagnosed.

I say this as someone who has had Lymes and is just trying another massive dose of antibiotics to shift it. I didn't ever find a tick that I didn't remove very quickly (within 2-5 hours), I didn't find a bullseye, I didn't have flu... It was massive fatigue, some aches and insomnia which finally made me realise what it could be.

I'm sure that you'll both be fine, but there's little harm in checking with blood tests in a few weeks.
Martin Hore - on 10 May 2017
In reply to ogreville:

I've another angle on this from personal experience.

I've picked up many ticks over the years, mostly when I was working in a forest environment which was 15+ years ago. Never any symptoms noticed at the time and never tested for Lyme.

Then a few months ago I went to the GP with a mixture of symptoms I couldn't understand - some aches, some swelling etc. He sent me off to get a menu of blood tests. Only when I left the room I suddenly thought "Lyme Disease" and popped back in to see him. He immediately added Lyme to the list of blood tests. It came back negative, but he was concerned enough to take swift action.

Just advising that any of us who've had tick exposure should keep in mind that some of the serious symptoms can take years to develop. If I hadn't thought to mention it, I wouldn't have been tested I'm sure.

Martin

petestack - on 10 May 2017
In reply to Dave the Rave:

> Put some clothes on and tuck yer troosers in yer socks?

As said further up, neither are reliable defences. They still get in and crawl!
steveboote - on 10 May 2017
In reply to ogreville:
Got ticks and clear bullseye rash after climbing at Tremadog, and more since. GP simply described to me how a 'bullseye' forms and why, ( he was quite elderly) I had to prompt him to go on his computer and see that Gwynedd Health were thinking of making it a notifiable disease that year. Got antibiotics finally
James Gordon - on 10 May 2017
In reply to AndrewHuddart:

Out of interested what antibiotics are you on and what dose? What did you previously have?
Dave the Rave on 10 May 2017
In reply to petestack:

> As said further up, neither are reliable defences. They still get in and crawl!

Gaiters? !
Robert Durran - on 10 May 2017
In reply to Dave the Rave:

> Gaiters? !

I do wonder whether shorts and no socks is a better strategy so that you can check easily and frequently and brush any off.
FactorXXX - on 10 May 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

I do wonder whether shorts and no socks is a better strategy so that you can check easily and frequently and brush any off.

Wearing tight fitting pants* though. Otherwise, the brushing off might well get you arrested! (I was just brushing these ticks off my willy...).

*Proper pants. As in those worn in the UK and not the USA imposters.

P.S. Apologies to Billy Connolly for the blatant gag blag.
wurzelinzummerset on 11 May 2017
In reply to petestack:

I sometimes work in areas with lots of ticks. I use a permethrin spray on my trousers and socks, and DEET on the lower part of my legs. Also gaiters, often just the short ankle gaiters, sprayed in permethrin. I also check my trousers regularly for anything crawling on them. The best defence around here, though, is to avoid ferns/bracken in woodland as it will be crawling with them.
More-On - on 11 May 2017
In reply to ogreville:

I got Lyme Disease last year and would reiterate that a lot of people, me included, didn't get any form of rash - I simply felt devoid of energy and then had joint pain. This came a week after getting several tick bites at the North Face car park. I thought I'd removed them properly and still cannot say if I hadn't or that I failed to spot another tick.

Anyway, you're both in the better position (than those who don't) of knowing you were bitten so go to the doctors if symptoms appear, but I don't think you need to before then as the test is not infallible as mentioned above (and I found out).
Simon Caldwell - on 11 May 2017
In reply to Dave the Rave:

> Gaiters? !

I got bitten despite wearing trousers tucked into socks, plus gaiters, plus overtrousers. The only thing I've found that has stopped them is wearing running tights, and a similarly tight top tucked in, then change clothes as soon as you're off the hill. But that's too unpleasantly hot in the summer, so I tend to accept that I'll get bitten, and look for them afterwards.
dsh - on 11 May 2017
In reply to ogreville:

I once had a tick bite without Lyme Disease symptoms and it turned out I had babesiosis.

It's common to test for it here but a doctor in the UK probably wouldn't.

I would get tested just in case. Even Lyme disease can be asymptomatic, but can cause complications if left untreated.
rgold - on 12 May 2017
In reply to ogreville:

I live in the Hudson Valley, USA, which is one of the Lyme disease capitals of the world. You get ticks in your backyard here, but its not just the prevalence of ticks but the proportion of the tick population that is infected. I've had three cases of Lyme, one with the rash, two without, one of the cases pretty bad. I'm re-posting a link from earlier I think everyone ought to read:

http://www.mvtimes.com/2016/07/13/visiting-physician-sheds-new-light-lyme-disease/

Lyme disease, and the various other diseases associated with tick bites, are no damn joke. Some people end up with long-term debilitating physical and cognitive symptoms. If you are in Lyme territory, I think the advice above to permethrin clothing and use DEET on possible exposed skin is de rigeur, and going bare-skinned hoping to brush ticks off is folly.
Roadrunner5 - on 12 May 2017
In reply to rgold:

I'm in NH, tonight on a run I pulled 4 ticks off my legs after a trail run. Almost every run I pull ticks off me after a tick check. I wasn't using DEET and really need to start.
ads.ukclimbing.com
More-On - on 12 May 2017
In reply to rgold:

Many thanks for posting the link - very informative.
I thought I was up to date on testing etc having had Lyme last year, but obviously not...
Nicknackpaddywack - on 12 May 2017
In reply to ogreville:

Not trying to scare-monger just trying to raise awareness but keep an eye out for Mammalian meat allergy, my dad got it and its pretty grim - thankfully rare though.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha-gal_allergy

Apologies for the Wikipedia reference but its the most concise.

rgold - on 12 May 2017
In reply to Roadrunner5:

> I'm in NH, tonight on a run I pulled 4 ticks off my legs after a trail run. Almost every run I pull ticks off me after a tick check. I wasn't using DEET and really need to start.

I wear running tights until it gets too hot, and then I've started using white (knee high) compression socks. Both the tights and the socks treated with permethrin ( which doesn't repel ticks, it kills them).
John Willson - on 12 May 2017
In reply to rgold:

How do you obtain permethrin? It used to be a very effective garden insecticide. but it was banned as such along with all the other OPs about ten years ago.
tony on 12 May 2017
Roadrunner5 - on 12 May 2017
In reply to rgold:

I just got one today walking around our school. We're in rural NH so there are ticks all over the play ground and trees around the school.

I need to look at that spray. I spend $100s a year treating the dog but dont spend much n myself.
rgold - on 12 May 2017
In reply to tony:

I'd beware of the claims on the linked site that a treatment lasts for "up to 2 years and 35 washes." The permethrin they are selling is a 0.5% solution, exactly the same as the US suppliers provide, but they all the US suppliers say 6 washings or 6 weeks, whichever comes first.

Handwashing is supposed to preserve the treatment, since it is the agitator action of a washing machine that strips the permethrin molecules from the fabric. Don't hang to dry in the sun as permethrin deteriorates in sunlight.

Wet permethrin is toxic to cats (but not dogs). Once it has dried it is supposed to be ok for cats too.

Be careful if you buy permethrin as a garden product---it is probably going to be a 10% solution, so will have to be diluted 1:19 to get the 0.05% that is appropriate for clothes. Plus, the 10% solution requires handling precautions like gloves and and a mask and should be kept away from bare skin.
cmgcmg - on 19 May 2017
99ster - on 19 May 2017
In reply to cmgcmg:

Thanks for the link - very useful.
wercat on 19 May 2017
In reply to ogreville:
Well, that's my hash settled. Target rash came up at theweekend from some kind of bite about 2 weeks previously - antibiotics start today
Post edited at 15:01
sopaz - on 19 May 2017
In reply to wercat:

Good luck! I had a 2 week course of antibiotics for Lyme a couple of years ago - was a grim time (I think mainly due to the antibiotics!)

Make sure you eat well and get some vitamins and minerals in. I've recently heard Kefir milk and probiotic yogurts work well to offset the effect on the guts and immune system...
wercat on 19 May 2017
In reply to sopaz:

Thanks for the advice! I think probiotics are supposed to be good but there was some doubt about whether they survive till they get to the gut in yoghourt form. You can get them in capsules I'm told - the colonist crew apparently survive re-entry better...
Dave Perry - on 20 May 2017
In reply to ogreville:

There's worse things to worry about:---


http://www.thegoodlicecentre.co.uk

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