Tick off

27Jul10

What is it about deer ticks this year? They are everywhere. Have you noticed?

Mrs R and I enjoy walking in the sunshine. On almost every outing this year in Norfolk and Suffolk where we have mixed tall vegetation and bare ankles or legs, one of us has returned with a deer tick or two attached to a lower limb.

The one of us in particular is Mrs R. So far I have not been become a host organism.

Mrs R has become an expert at removing ticks with a pair of tweezers. We have both become experts in watching for the early symptoms of Lyme Disease.

I have become an expert in keeping my witty comments to myself at such moments. But I am quietly pleased to know that little parasitic arachnids don’t find me as attractive and sweet smelling as Mrs R. Or a deer.



8 Responses to “Tick off”

  1. Up north the mad bad dogs have demonstrated a paucity of ticks, but a surfeit of hares this year.

    • 2 Mrs R

      Fortunately I have yet to come home with a hare attached to my ankle.

  2. 3 John

    Ah, but with tweezers you have the danger of leaving the mouth parts in your leg and setting up an infection. I prefer the alternative methods. If you are feeling particularly benevolent you can get the said tick drunk by davving it with a cotton wool ball soaked in in vodka (or thhe alcohol of your choice), when the tick is all merry and relaxed you can then pick it off.

    Alternatively if you are feeling really peed off with the tick for stealing your lifeblood then you smother it in vaseline and let the bugger suffocate!!!!

  3. 4 Andy, at Aviva Perth

    No John no!!!!
    See http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A13344969 – with the relavent part below

    Tick Removal
    Some people don’t like the idea of an eight-legged blood-sucking creature being attached to them or their pet for too long. Pulling them off os the best way of getting ride of them. It used to be thought that burning ticks off or smothering them in alcohol, vinegar, Vaseline, butter etc would make them fall off or suffocate and die respectively. However, it is well establsihed that this manner of tick removal causes regurgitation of gut and salivary gland content into the patient during the tick removal process and, thereby, increases transmission of Borrelia spirochaetes that cause Lyme disease (see below). The ticks should simply be removed by pulling off:

    * Plucking or pulling off. Look closely, and you’ll see that the fangs go in, then the bulge of the head starts. You’re aiming for the join between the two. Get a pair of tweezers, and in one movement deftly grab and twist, in an anti-clockwise direction – according to conventional wisdom, this way you can hopefully avoid snapping the bug1. Special tweezers can even be bought for the purpose!

    * Nurse. The preferred method – find someone who is paid to do the job well.

    Make sure you know what you are doing – any of the self-help methods carry a risk as described below, and if you’re not sure, follow the final suggestion. Leaving part of the tick in the flesh can leave you open to all sorts of infections, not just the ones listed below. As we will see, the risks of infection are not worth it.

  4. 5 Mike S

    Alex,
    A couple of thoughts spring to mind – firstly, you missed the opporunity to talk about the stag-gering number of deer ticks about… Secondly, I started to wonder whether the propenstiy to be attacked by the ticks might be in proportion to the hairiness of the legs in question.

    Then I thought I’d better get on with some work….

    • Mike – when I last looked Mrs R’s legs were a lot less hairy than a deer’s. But you may have a point.

      • As Homer Simpson would say “D’oe!”

        I meant to add a fawning comment about deer puns, but I’ll buck the trend and let someone else comment in the next roe down. Meanwhile I’ll let the subject lie fallow.

  5. 8 John

    Andy – thanks for this.

    Apologies to my Labrador for putting great gobs of vaseline in her fur most summers for the last 8 years or so trying to get rid of the blighters (used the vaseline method as I deemed it to be a waste of good alcohol to use my vodka)


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