May 21st 2019 Back to latest news
You may be confused or worried when people talk about ticks in the countryside. We’re going to help you be tick aware!
We’re family focused at Farmer Palmer’s so naturally baby and children’s health and happiness is a priority for us.
Ticks are quite common, living in pastures, woodland and forest areas, but the chance of ever having one is rare. It is often a relief to understand that, armed with a little knowledge, you are a prepared parent who knows what to do if you ever find one!
They are tiny creatures (parasites) that feed on the blood of birds and mammals, including that of humans. Not all ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, but as there is a small risk the sooner a tick is removed the better.
We totally understand how spotting a tick on your little one could, at best worry you, and worst totally freak you out. They look disgusting and have no redeeming features at all as far as we can see!
Not very pretty! Ticks are small black spider like creatures, about the size of a sesame seed. Often they go unnoticed because they are very small & hard to see until they start to feed.
Most ticks are active in milder weather and abundant late Spring and early Summer. This is also when most people are exploring the British outdoors and taking part in activities such as hiking and camping.
They tend to be on the ends of grass waiting for a host to brush past so it can hop on. The juvenile stages feeding on smaller hosts such as wood mice, small rodents, larger mammals like hedgehogs, rabbits, hares and squirrels. Adult ticks feed on larger hosts like sheep, cattle and deer, attaching themselves to the skin, feeding on blood for a few days, then fall off.
If it is embedded into the skin, you need to remove it promptly, ideally within 24 hours! Remove all parts of the tick’s body to prevent it releasing additional saliva or regurgitating its stomach contents into your bite wound.
Deep breath, Yes, you can do this! It is important that you follow the instructions below
And for those of you who do not have help, or cannot face the trauma that a wriggling toddler or baby is presenting it’s sometimes easier removing the offending bug while your child is asleep and could be less traumatic for all concerned. Just a practical idea!
Or you can watch this video to see how to remove a tick
Be aware that engorged ticks will contain potentially infected blood, which may splatter when crushed. Do not crush the tick with your fingers and do not allow the crushed tick or the blood it carried to contact your skin
Do Not be tempted to go for the old fashioned ideas for tick removal
These methods don’t get the tick off the skin, and can make it burrow deeper and release more saliva (which makes it more likely to pass a disease).
There is a risk that a tick could be carrying Lyme disease (see below). It is a good idea to call your doctor or nurse practitioner. This is especially important if you, or your child has:
It’s often a relief taking your kids to somewhere they can play and learn with animals, it keeps them busy and brings some calm into your world (always needed when you’re a busy mum). The incidents of Tick bites at Farmer Palmers is incredibly low, (1 case in 2018 and 130,000 visitors). We all love to see the freedom of children running around in shorts and t-shirts in summer but if you are venturing out hiking on moorlands, in forests or woodlands these tips will help.
The best ways to avoid tick bites are to:
Fortunately, Dorset is not a high risk area. Even so, no matter how small the risk Farmer Palmer’s put your safety first. As it’s something we take very seriously we therefore ensure we
Remember most ticks DO NOT carry Lymes Disease. Public Health England has created a brilliant video if you wish to know more.
And of course, if you have a rash or are feeling unwell in the two weeks after a bite, or are worried you may have picked up an infection…seek out medical advise as soon as possible.
Lyme disease is caused by a type of bacteria found in animals like mice and deer. Ixodes ticks that feed on these animals can then spread the bacteria to people through their bites. It’s important to know and watch for signs of Lyme disease because ticks are hard to find and it’s easy to miss a tick bite.
The Good News
The good news is that most tick bites are harmless and don’t need medical treatment or lead to Lyme disease. Fortunately it is still a rare disease in the UK, however tick numbers have increased in recent years.
The NHS describes Lyme disease as a bacterial infection spread to humans by infected ticks. Usually within 1-2 weeks of the initial bite signs of infection may occur in that area.
If you have a likely case of Lyme disease, you’ll be prescribed a 2 to 4 week course of antibiotics while your GP waits for the results of a blood test to confirm infection. It can sometimes require two blood tests to detect this. Cases that are diagnosed quickly and treated with antibiotics almost always have a good outcome. A person should be feeling back to normal within several weeks after treatment starts.
Lyme disease is NOT contagious, so it can’t spread from person to person. But people can get it more than once.
If you have any questions at all, get in touch – we love hearing from you.
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