Graham Hibbins, from Strachan’s Chemist in Uppermill, looks at ticks.
AS THE weather hopefully gets warmer and people around Saddleworth start going on country walks, it’s a good time to discuss ticks.
Ticks are spider-like parasites that live in the undergrowth of forests, woods and heath areas, but also gardens and parks.
If you are unfortunate enough to brush against something they are on, they can climb on to your clothes or skin and then bite and start feeding on your blood.
As the bite is not painful, you may not realise you have been bitten but if it is not removed, a circular rash can develop that looks like a bulls-eye on a dart board.
The best way of removing ticks is with tweezers, gently gripping it as close to the skin as possible and slowly pull away without crushing it or it could leave some toxin from its saliva – that’s why it is not a good idea to try burning it out or use alcohol.
Once removed, wash the skin with soap and water then apply an antiseptic cream.
To minimise tick bites avoid long grass when out walking, wear appropriate clothing and use insect repellents. Check your clothing, your skin and pets to make sure no ticks are present.
Lyme disease can be caused by infected ticks – this is a flu-like condition that can become quite serious if not treated quickly. If you think you may have been bitten and are concerned about this, speak to your pharmacist or GP.
If you are thinking of exploring further afield there is a viral infection called tick-borne encephalitis that occurs in central, northern and Eastern Europe and forested regions of China and Japan.
This is a very serious condition and vaccination is recommended before travel. Again, discuss this with a healthcare professional.
Next month, I am going to mention something that gets right up our noses!