Lyme Disease & Tick Removal
Added on 26 June 2014
Lyme Disease - Are you tick aware?
Lyme disease numbers in people have been increasing year on year, with approximately 3,000 confirmed cases per year. Charity ‘Lyme Disease Action’ believes the true numbers are much higher – probably over 15,000 cases per year – as many go undiagnosed. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by infected ticks and can affect humans, dogs and cats. Ticks are tiny spider-like insects that are carried by deer, small mammals and birds, and feed on blood. Ticks can’t always be felt when attached and can remain unnoticed feeding for days before dropping off. The longer a tick is in place, the higher the risk of it passing on the infection.
Symptoms of Lyme disease
The earliest and most common symptom of Lyme disease is a pink or red circular rash that develops around the area of the bite. It is often described as looking like a bull’s-eye on a dart board. Other symptoms can be flu like, with tiredness, loss of appetite and joint swelling. Symptoms can last for months in varying degrees and, if left undiagnosed, Lyme disease can lead to permanent disability. Following diagnosis of Lyme disease, cases can be treated with antibiotics. Lyme disease does not pass from person to person.
The following precautions might help prevent Lyme disease:
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt and tuck trousers into socks when walking in high risk areas (long grass, parks and woodland)
- Use insect repellent, especially on children
- Check yourself for ticks after walks. Be aware that a tick that is newly attached is not filled with blood and will look more like a tiny spider
- Remove attached ticks quickly and carefully
For your pets:
Check for ticks regularly and use a suitable ‘spot on’ tick treatment. Some kill both fleas and ticks but many need applying every 4 weeks. With ‘spot ons’ ticks can still attach, but will die quickly thus reducing the chances of disease transmission. We do stock an effective tick collar called a ‘Scalibor’ that offers protection against ticks for up to 6 months.
We would recommend the use of an ‘O’Tom’ tick hook. They remove ticks quickly and easily.
If you do not have an O’Tom, remove a tick by gently gripping it as close to the skin as possible, preferably using fine-toothed tweezers, and then pull steadily away from the skin. Never use a lit cigarette end, a match head or essential oils to force the tick out. This can cause a tick to regurgitate potentially infected material into the skin, which may increase the risk of transmission of infection. Be careful not to squeeze, crush or puncture the body of the tick, which may contain infectious fluids. See or call a doctor or vet if there are concerns about incomplete tick removal as this can cause problems.
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