As it’s Lyme Awareness Month, the weather is improving, and thoughts may be turning to summer holidays, this week’s blog features our top ten tips on how to best protect yourself from ticks whilst camping.
Camping holidays are a fantastic way to enjoy our beautiful countryside and bring families or friends together. You can give your children an affordable trip with a sense of adventure, let your teenager gain their first taste of independence on a Duke of Edinburgh award holiday, or get really close to nature in way that day trips cannot achieve.
Camping falls into the highest category of risk for tick bites, though! So follow our advice to make sure everyone stays safe from these parasites.
Ten ways to beat the blood suckers!
1. Take a pair of pointed tweezers or a tick remover tool, suitable for removing all sizes of tick.
2. Take alcohol disinfectant to clean skin after tick removal.
3. Spray the entire groundsheet and tent with permethrin. You can also spray clothing to increase protection.
4. Apply a repellent effective against ticks to exposed skin. Bug repellents containing deet are effective, but more natural, deet-free brands such as Mosi-Guard or Incognito have also been shown to be effective.
5. Take light coloured clothes and pyjamas, which will make it easier to see ticks. Tuck your trousers into your socks, and tuck your clothing into trousers, and so on.
6. Take a camping seat or at least a blanket to sit on, instead of sitting on grass.
7. Look for ticks attached to the skin. You won’t be able to feel a tick biting you. They can be as small as a poppy seed and very difficult to see.
Have a “tick buddy” and check each other at least twice a day for ticks in places that you cannot see, particularly behind the ears, on the back of the neck and around the hairline. Remember to check under waistbands and any tight clothing. Check your groin and abdomen regularly, as ticks will crawl long distances inside your clothing to reach this soft warm area.
Males need to check their genitals, as ticks often attach here and may go unnoticed for a long time!
8. Wash absolutely everything when you get home, or give it a blast in the tumble dryer for 20 minutes. You do not want to bring ticks home as your holiday souvenir.
9. Do not assume you cannot have Lyme disease just because you think you have not been bitten. Many people with Lyme disease do not remember ever seeing a tick bite them. Lyme disease symptoms can take 3 days to 3 months to appear after being bitten by a tick.
10. If you develop symptoms that could be Lyme disease, see your doctor immediately and mention that you have been camping and/or bitten by a tick. Lyme disease symptoms may include a red, circular expanding rash that is not painful or itchy, or symptoms like flu, or other symptoms that affect the nerves, brain, heart, joints, and eyes. Go to our Symptoms webpage in order to learn what to look out for.