Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

Field Sports Scotland

Hunting and Field Sports in Scotland

Ticks and Lymes

It has been a particularly wet, but, warm season (and year for that matter) in the Highlands and throughout Scotland, wet and warm means an abundance of insect life. The midges this year have been particularly bad in places and from talking to stalkers and ramblers throughout the UK the, dreaded, tick has been more prevalent this year. Every outing this year I have come across ticks (although none have taken to me) and with the increase in ticks we have the worry over Lymes Disease. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can be spread to humans by infected ticks. It’s usually easier to treat if it’s diagnosed early.  Many people with early symptoms of Lyme disease develop a red, circular skin rash around a tick bite. This can appear up to 30 days after being bitten by a tick. Not everyone with Lyme disease gets the rash. Some people also have flu-like symptoms in the early stages, such as:
  • a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
  • headaches
  • muscle and joint pain
  • tiredness and loss of energy
This week the topic was discussed in the Scottish Parliament with the recent research showing that Scotland has the highest case of Lymes in the UK. With many cases being poorly diagnosed or treated too date. A lot of the problem is that medical practitioners in Scotland are poorly equipped for the testing of the disease. So a motion has been forwarded to the Scottish Parliament in the hope that this can be rectified. Scotland is not the only country in the world where Lymes has been a major issue, in Australia there has been thousands of patients showing signs and symptoms of Lymes disease, a disease that the Australian government has not said does not exist there, but with poor testing available and the lack of knowledge on the variants of the disease they have no been able to properly diagnose the disease. Lymes is a constant fear that deer stalkers have when stalking in the wood or on the hill, more and more deer I have taken recently have been covered quite heavily in ticks, it has been noticeably more than previous years which could be down to the mild damp weather we have been having. With the increase of ticks and insects due to the weather many companies are bringing out “Tick Proof” clothing and detection and removal kits. There has been mixed reviews on much of what is on offer in the form of protection. A lot of the clothing available is very expensive with no real proof of how effective it is in heavily infected areas. The Scottish government and NHS Scotland are issuing a new leaflet on the prevention and detection of Tick bites and Lymes Disease, an arguable sign that what we know about the disease until now is very limited. In most cases the best prevention is early detection of the tick itself and safe removal of the said parasite without squeezing the poinson from the tick into your blood stream, tick cards and sharp tweasers are good for this.      

1 thought on “Ticks and Lymes

  1. David. A well written piece. Ticks and Lyme disease and associated co-infections is a complex subject. Certainly prevention is better than cure. No prevention method is 100% reliable, but reducing the incidence of tick bites, safe removal, identifying the early symptoms and being able to pass on this information and your history to a GP can help reduce the risk. I would recommend the O’tom tick twister as a safe and easy method of tick removal. Check out http://www.bada-uk.org for practical advice.

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