Creepy crawly alert!

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Summer riding means overgrown trails, fewer layers of clothing and warm, sweaty crevices (oo-er, etc) – all perfect conditions for the great British tick to latch on and get a bellyful. If you’ve managed to escape picking up one of these hitchhikers thus far, then you’ve probably been lucky – and if you haven’t, then you probably already know the little blighters are tricky to remove. The charity Lyme Disease Action has the following public service announcement for you – and if you’ve not had your lunch yet, then we recommend you skip this film of the tick’s feeding mechanism. It’s just an animation but is still, well, ‘quite’ gross…

“When you stop for a break, choose a rock to sit on. If you go for the grass then be prepared to check yourself for ticks afterwards! Ticks are tiny parasitic, blood-sucking arthropods related to spiders, mites and scorpions. They can be found all over the UK and are also present in mainland Europe and N America. They live near the ground wherever there are moist conditions – woodland, long grass, even overgrown suburban gardens. As small as a pinhead, they climb a stalk of vegetation and hold out a hooked leg ready to latch on to a passing human. They will then crawl to some exposed skin, insert barbed mouthparts and start to feed on blood. The adult female is the largest – see this film for how the tick walks on skin using sensors in its front legs to look for a likely blood supply.”

I ricinus
Cute little sucker, isn’t it?

Essential information:

  • ticks carry Lyme disease and other diseases
  • they will stay attached for up to about 5 days before falling off, replete!
  • DO use a tick removal tool to remove a tick
  • do NOT smother with oil or alcohol – this increases the risk of infection
  • in any area in the UK it is possible that about 1 in 5 ticks carries disease
  • Lyme disease symptoms appear on average about 14 days after the bite – so stay alert
  • if you have any ‘flu like symptoms, or a red, expanding rash, see your GP
EM axilla
No, it’s not a target for darts.

Ticks on thumb large

Lyme Disease Action provides accredited information on ticks and Lyme disease. On the LDA website, you can buy tick removers and repellents and freely download leaflets.

Lyme Disease Action has two cyclists raising funds in the 100-mile RideLondon cycle ride, from London, through Surrey and back. You can sponsor the riders here.

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Jenn Hill was the deputy editor here at Singletrack up until her untimely death from Lung Cancer in October 2015. She was and remains an inspiration to us all here at Singletrack. Jenn Hill - 1977-2015

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Comments (6)

    Thoroughly recommend getting the tick twisters. I got a tick the other week in the lakes and it came out no problem at all with them.

    Remember to check your furry friends (and pets…) too post ride/walkies!

    Eldest mini B has this right now :-( – think we got it early though, he’s on the antibiotics and seems OK.

    It was only PSAs like this that made me pause after what looked like a horse fly bite on the side of his head. Then the characteristic rash developed, most under the hair line, but enough to get him to the doctors who was well versed and only paused to research his preferred weapon.

    Please note that both 111 and the pharmacist weren’t accurate or terribly helpful – one case you do need to get to your GP.

    Obviously having someone affected means you pick up the anecdotes of others – and none of them had a good outcome for late diagnosis.

    Be careful out there, and better safe than sorry in this case.

    “Summer riding means overgrown trails”

    ….which also means Giant Hog Weed. Another thing you’d be well advised to keep well away from!

    I found one stuck in me last week after riding Loadpot Hill, High Street.

    There was a video doing the rounds earlier in the year demonstrating how to remove them using a moist cotton bud. Basically you just rotate it around the tick and the tick disengages. It worked for me.

    I found about fourteen very tiny ones stuck in me, after a ride on the Blawith Fells last year.

    They are increasing in number.

    Wife got one in Scotland, while riding the Stanes; I’d left the tick remover back at the cottage so nipped to A&E in Castle Douglas who want to smother it! Off I went to the nearest pet shop, returned and showed them how it was done – in the future if there is a problem with the wife, it’s straight to the vets ;-)

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