Although we are not experts on ticks or their potential risks, we want to offer the following information to help participants feel more confident to be outside as well as to know how to perform a tick check and removal.
Ticks are becoming more common in the UK especially as our climate changes. Ticks can carry diseases such as various forms of Lyme’s Disease as well as a variety of co-infections. In the UK, we are mostly looking out for ‘deer ticks’ or black-legged ticks.
When spending time outside and especially in places that other animals inhabit, it is important to perform regular tick checks. The quicker any attached tick is removed, the less likely it is to pass on any infections it may be carrying.
In most Kinship Workshops we will encourage everyone to carry out a tick check after the workshop or at the end of each day for multi-day workshops. In residential workshops we will also encourage everyone to find a tick checking buddy to help them check in harder to see/ reach places.
Tick checking: either before, and/ or after washing, it is important to give a generous amount of time to check your whole body for ticks. This should be done in a well-lit place. A mirror can be used to check the hard to see places (groin, armpits etc.) and it is recommended to get help from someone to check your back, behind your ears and hairline where it is difficult to see even with the use of a mirror.
The following videos show how to remove a tick in two different ways. These videos are from North America and as such show larger ticks than we normally have in the UK. Depending on the season, ticks in the UK may be a lot smaller than those shown in these videos.
This video shows tick removal with fine-tipped tweezers:
This video shows tick removal with a ‘tick twister’:
After removing a tick, it is important to clean the site thoroughly. Some health practitioners recommend keeping the tick in a small zip-lock bag in case there is an infection – having the tick can help with diagnosis.
In any case, it is important to keep an eye on the bite-site for any redness, swelling or ‘bulls-eye’ ring marking for the next few weeks to pick up any signs of infection. Other symptoms such as flu-like symptoms may be a sign of infection too. In such a case, immediate medical attention should be sought out.
Tick prevention: wearing long sleeved tops tucked into trousers and long trousers or tights tucked into socks can help reduce the risk of tick bites. There are also a variety of anti-tick sprays available.
Whilst it is important to make checking for ticks part of a routine, we hope that it won’t stop anyone from enjoying time outside. Please get in touch if you have any questions.