Equipment to deal with ticks
Ticks have been in the news recently with a report that they can be found on a third of dogs. These tiny arachnids, relatives of spiders, feed on blood, canine and human, and can transmit nasty diseases, particularly one called Lyme disease. The most recent research shows that ticks are found in far more places than previously thought, including urban parks and gardens, and that numbers seem to be increasing.
Most tick bites don’t result in disease but even so it’s worth taking precautions during tick season, which stretches from spring well into autumn – so there’s still quite a few weeks left this year. As well as checking for ticks after a walk there are some useful items that can be used to repel ticks and to remove them if they do appear.
A few months ago Care Plus, the Dutch travel health care company, sent me an anti-tick kit consisting of Anti Tick repellent, tick remover, tick test, and Bugsox Traveller socks (plus a cuddly soft toy tick!). I’ve been using the first and last but not the middle two as I haven’t found any ticks recently.
The only one I’ve found this year was before the kit arrived. Most unusually I felt a sharp pain when it bit me behind my knee (tick bites are usually painless, one of the insidious things about them as they can gorge on blood without you even knowing). As it had hardly embedded itself it was easy to pull off.
Anti Tick comes in a 100ml spray bottle. It’s not a DEET product. The active ingredient is p-Methan-3,8-diol, which is less scary than it sounds being an extract of an Australian eucalyptus tree – it’s also known as lemon-eucalyptus. I’ve used this before and it also repels midges. It can be applied to bare skin, especially arms and legs as ticks wait on the ends of grasses and other plants and attach themselves when you brush past.
The Tick Remover is a push button spring-operated set of pincers that I can see being easier to use than the tiny tweezers from a pocket knife that I’ve relied on in the past. It comes with some alcohol swabs for cleaning the bite afterwards.
The Tick Test is a self-diagnosis kit for testing whether a tick could be carrying Lyme disease. It produces a result within twenty minutes.
The Bug Traveller socks are thin viscose socks impregnated with insect repellent. They work okay with trail shoes and sandals in warm weather but aren’t adequate on their own for colder conditions.
There’s much more information on dealing with ticks at www.stopthetick.co.uk, which is sponsored by Care Plus.
Anti Tick £8
Tick Remover £4
Tick Test £13
Bugsox Traveller Twin Pack £19