(… and that of your walking partner?)
Two days ago I removed another two ticks that had started gorging on my blood. I said to Neil that we are going to have to be very meticulous about checking for the wee blighters after each outing. He joked about being ME-TICK-U-LESS, but today, after removing tick number four for this year from my body, it’s gone beyond a joke.
Ticks in the UK can carry a number of infections which cause disease in both humans and animals. If left untreated, many of these infections can result in severe and debilitating symptoms. Borreliosis (Lyme disease) is the most common tick-borne disease in the UK. As I mentioned in a previous posting in my blog, I tested positive for Lyme Disease (Borreliosis) last November and am still suffering from the effects of the disease.
This week is Tick Bite Prevention Week as run by BADA-UK (Borreliosis and Associated Diseases Awareness UK). Since I seen to be such a tick-magnet, I’m going to make a few changes to prevent picking them up. I’ve ordered some Mosi-guard insect repellent as recommended by BADA-UK and am going to buy light-coloured walking trousers instead of my usual black.
One day while walking alone, and with lots of time for ‘deep’ thinking – as you do – I contemplated on a custom that is long gone. I remember years ago when driving along the rural roads on a Saturday or Sunday you’d pass cars parked at the lay-bys and parking spots for the entry points to the hills – as they are now. However, in the early evening you’d see hillwalkers in various stages of undress standing behind/beside the cars. Many a bare chest or pair of Y-fronts was on display on a typical Saturday evening. Stripping off and changing clothes was a natural thing to do. You’d return from the hill sticky with sweat from wearing waterproof cagoules over cotton shirts and cotton vests. Frankly you’d usually be pretty claggy, if not downright minging! And if you wished to stop at the pub on the way home, you didn’t dare be seen in public in such strange attire as walking breeches! Naturally you changed all your clothing except underwear. Unless it had been a particularly bad day and you changed that too. Hold up, guys, I meant it could be wet with rain and/or sweat! (Although you may have had other problems for all I know!)
I honestly can not remember when I last saw this ‘custom’. Now, with the use of technical fabrics, etc we usually are quite dry (not necessarily clean!) even after a couple of days on the hills and never bother changing anything other than boots and socks until we get home.
Back to the ticks. One of the guidelines to protecting yourself is “Don’t bring ticks home. Check clothing and pets for ticks to avoid bringing them inside.” Of course this makes perfect sense. I’m going to return to changing into a complete clean set of clothes at the car and wash the used clothes as soon as I get home.
See more tips on prevention by Ray Mears, the patron of BADA-UK.
With us almost tripping over big fellas like this in some areas of the country, is it any wonder ticks are a problem?.