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Beware of This !

tick-1 0Most dog and cat owners are familiar with this creature. It is, of course, a tick but it as partial to humans as it is animals. I have lived in one of our National Parks for the last 30 years and during that time I have run across most of the heathland and woodland within a radius of 15 miles. There was a time when I used to run fast enough to avoid having flies gather around my head as I went but these days they not only keep up but frequently decide to hitch a ride. During these years I have had dozens of tick bites from the little critters that I picked up on my run. I am told that I am one of those unfortunate people who seems to hold a great attraction to mosquitoes and ticks. They home in on me with unerring accuracy so it is usual for me to end the season with at least one tick bite. 15 years ago having taken a short cut through ferns after having badly twisting my ankle on a run I took no less than 11 ticks from my legs a couple of days later. I usually discover them when they start to itch. 

What a lot of people fail to realise is, not only are they absolutely everywhere in the UK but some carry a particularly nasty disease called Lyme disease. I have manged to avoid infection over the years but my wife has not been so lucky. Lyme disease can be fatal or permanently paralyze you if it is not recognised and treated quickly. We were on holiday in Spain some years ago when my wife complained of an irritation at the back of her knee. It was a tick bite and by this time the tick was quite large. I removed it carefully with tweezers. I usually smother the tick in toothpaste first to make it loosen its grasp. You have to be careful so as not to leave the head in which would go septic. I kept an eye on my wife's bite. She began to feel a bit feverish after a few days and I noticed that an increasingly large purple/red ring was spreading from the the bite area, a sure sign of Lyme disease. We immediately got her to the doctor and she was treated with anti-biotics. My wife had picked up the tick in our garden just before leaving for our holiday, she believes, when putting out the washing. The conventional advice is to ensure that when you go into fields of long grass, heath lands, or wooded areas you should tuck your trousers into your socks. I don't do that but I am well aware of any unusual itch on my skin and immediately inspect it for bites.  I





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