This is an item which has been on the website for a few years.
In view of the good weather and the proliferation of shorts this causes
it's worth having a look at again
On yesterday’s walk (15th March) the topic of ticks (can also be spelt tics) came up, especially as we had an incident with an injured deer the previous week and one of the group – me - had picked up a tick during the walk. As the little blighters do seem to go for me, and have done over the years, I thought it would be as well to at least share my own experiences. This is clearly a non-medical summary and the point is to make people aware of the possibilities and how to deal with them.
There are two types of tick – sheep (by far the most common and relatively harmless) and deer. Deer ticks can cause Lyme Disease, very nasty and possibly fatal. They can literally hang around for up to a year on a fern or long bit of grass and attach themselves to their host – often a sheep (most common), deer, dog or human when the opportunity presents itself. The danger is worse if the person wears shorts and brushes against the offending fern or bracken or grass. If they are detected and removed within 36 hours, there is very little danger of an infection spreading but as they are very tiny – they are a coloured mite and usually spend some time exploring the body before they settle into a suitable spot, often the groin but quite possibly other parts of the body as well – they can be difficult to spot. They feel like a rapidly growing boil. They attach themselves with hooks on the end of their legs and simply gorge on the blood of the victim until they are bloated and drop off. I have seen ticks on my dog about half an inch across!
If they are still moving on the body, they can easily be picked off and disposed of. If they have attached themselves, that is more of a problem. DON’T pick them off with your fingers. The way I have always found best is to soak them with acetone – a clear liquid used in nail varnish remover and paint thinner or as a cleaner etc.etc. This irritates them, they then loosen their grip and can be picked off with tweezers. It is vital to get the whole thing off and not leave any behind and make sure you then dispose of it because it will still be very much alive. Don’t twist them – try and lift them whole. I have heard other forms of alcoholic spirits (expensive and can be put to better uses) or grease (slippery for the tweezers) recommended, but I have always found it best to keep a small amount of nail varnish remover handy as it is almost pure acetone and in small quantities does no harm.
If you suspect you have one on an area of the body you cannot see, DO NOT try to pick it off. Best to enlist someone with whom you are VERY FRIENDLY who can go through the process or – if there is no one immediately available, go to A & E or the local practice nurse. Far better to allow the tick to survive for a few more hours and then do the job properly than risk only getting part of it off. I must stress that these are my thoughts and a summary of what works for me, but if you have any doubts, then seek professional medical advice. Happy tick hunting!