A short and sweet post from me. I have a proper knitting post lined up for tomorrow, but this one is an important one.
It is tick season in the Northern hemisphere. My eye was caught by this BBC article about the European Space Agency backing work on mapping Scottish tick hotspots. The article is pretty good but also carries a really unfortunate image of a bullseye rash.
Here's the low down.
Ticks are tiny arthropods who like to suck blood from humans and animals. They range in sizes - the young ones are tiny and the size of a pin head. Grown-up ticks have a characteristic light brown body. Most ticks are harmless and won't harm you or your animals. Unfortunately a small number carry a bacteria called Borrelia burgdoferi - this bacteria transmits Lyme Disease or Lyme borreliosis. And you really don't want to contract that.
How to Protect Yourself & Loved Ones from Tick Bites
- Don't walk through long grass or brush against foliage.
- Wear long trousers and long-sleeved shirts if you are outside. Tuck your trousers into your socks.
- Wear light-coloured clothes so any ticks crawling on you can easily be detected (remember some of them are tiny)
- Wear gloves when brushing yourself and your loved ones down before going inside
- Check for small black dots and full-grown brown bodies in dark, damp and moist places- i.e. behind your ears, in your hairline, armpits and bikini line.
- If you find a tick, you can try to remove it.
Remember that a tick bite does not mean you will automatically become ill! Don't panic but act responsibly.
So You May or May Not Have Been Bitten By a Tick
- If you develop flu-like symptoms over the next six months, go see a doctor.
- Symptoms of a Lyme borreliosis infection include rashes, headaches, facial paralysis, ear pain, fever, disorientation, joint pains etc.
- People go on about bullseye rashes being a key symptom - not everybody develops this rash!
- Lyme borreliosis is treatable with antibiotics and early intervention is key.
- Read more here. Google responsibly (there is a lot of awful information and hand-waving out there).
I was bitten in the summer of 1996 and know first-hand what a tick bite can do to you. I only sought medical help after several months of unexplained ailments - don't be as stupid and naive as me. Go out, enjoy nature and be smart about protecting yourself & loved ones.