Over the past year, we've noticed a real increase in tick bites among our reserve teams which we put down to the combination of warm and wet weather. Most reserve colleagues have a career marked by assorted bites and stings and accept it as an annoying natural occupational hazard. But I estimate I’ve had three times as many ticks on me in the last 18 months after enjoying the countryside, when compared to the last 40 years.
What is a tick?
A tick is a small arachnid (related to spiders) that feeds on blood - it can be alarming to find one feeding on your body. If you are a dog owner, you may be familiar with ticks and some species will feed on humans too. Very rarely, ticks can transmit Lyme's disease to you, which has serious long term effects.
What should you I do if you spot a tick on your skin?
The first and important thing is not to panic. Don’t just slap it off or squash it, don’t burn it, and don’t cover it in Vaseline. You need to remove it very carefully using fine tweezers or a specialist tick removal tool. The NHS website has excellent instructions and explains symptoms of Lyme’s disease, for early treatment.