Are you feeling TICKityboo?
*warning: images of parasites are included in this blog*
Those of you who follow Cornish Ramblings on social media will already know I have a deep-rooted obsession with two things: Cornwall and the family Cocker Spaniel, Purdy.
Cornwall is an obvious obsession; I mean look at her, she’s full of infinite charm and unequivocal beauty, you’d be hard-pressed not to fall head over heels in love with this county. No matter where I head for a ramble you can guarantee something will leave me completely starstruck, the limits of what Cornwall has to offer are seemingly endless. Beauty can be found everywhere if you look hard enough, but with Cornwall you hardly need to try to scope out the beauty. It’s just there, right in front of you with her miles upon miles - 260 to be precise - of sweeping coastlines; endless rugged cliffs around every corner; vast woodlands housing many a tree to hug; dense forests to lose yourself in; creeks and coves to explore; historical buildings and landmarks to marvel at; towns and villages to bustle through. The possibilities really are endless.
Then there’s my second obsession Purdy, who happens to be my best friend and soulmate in four-legged form. Wherever I roam Purdy is sure to be there, clipping my ankles with her boopable snoot, exploring Cornwall and the wonders she beholds one sniff and pawprint at a time. She is my co-pilot, companion and secret-keeper and the love I have for her is truly incredible. Purdy is our soon to be 9-year old Cocker Spaniel who loves nothing more than a cuddle, cocktail sausage, and a swim. She is a precious creature and those who have joined me on a Cornish Ramblings walk will have had the pleasure of meeting my little bundle of joy; to be fair, Purdy is usually who everyone remembers over me, which I completely understand and hold no grudges. I will forget your name, but your dog’s name, age, favourite cuddly toy and treat of choice will forever be ingrained in my memory.
Feeling TICKed Off!
We’ve reached that time of year where dog owners and walkers need to be extra mindful and cautious when out exploring on foot. The reason being because of certain little bloodsucking blighters, known more commonly as ticks. Keep reading to find out how I keep myself and Purdy safe when out walking during tick season.
What are ticks?
To put it simply, a tick is a parasite which feeds on the blood of its host. The host being an animal or human. These little critters are usually found lurking in long grass, leaf litter and low plants where they wait in anticipation of a host to brush past. Ticks don’t jump or fly but instead climb on as the animal or human brushes past, and they will use special mouth parts and saliva to fix itself securely into the skin, where it feeds for a number of days.
Where do ticks live?
Ticks can be found in woodland and forest areas but can also be seen in fields and parkland, especially where there is livestock and deer. However, don’t be thinking you’re safe in town parks and gardens for these creatures can also be present here too. Ticks are more abundant during late spring to early summer, and again during autumn.
How do you remove a tick?
Personally, this is the part I worry about the most. How to safely remove a tick.
Below are the reasons why incorrect removal could be harmful:
The ticks mouth parts may be left behind on the skin resulting in localised infection which could lead to abscesses and even septicemia
The ticks body gets compressed which could cause fluids to be squeezed back into the bloodstream of the host. These fluids may contain disease-causing organisms
Puncturing the ticks’ body may cause the infective fluids to spill onto the host
Causing injury or irritation to the tick may result in it vomiting infective fluids onto the host, potentially causing a serious infection.
Before you start mass-panicking at all of the above, there is a really simple and effective way of removing these nasty little things and it goes by the name of a Tick Twister.
Used by professionals such as vets, medics, forestry and field workers and also by many of the general public, the Tick Twister is a tick-removal device which has been proven to be significantly more effective at the quick removal of ticks and the ease in which to do so.
The ticks barbed mouth parts are so microscopic and delicate there is a chance they can break off, but with using a Tick Twister the risk is significantly reduced. The Tick Twister will cradle the body of the tick without adding any pressure to its body, thus reducing the chances of puncturing or compressing whilst removing. This device allows you to twist in one direction allowing the barbs on the tick’s proboscis (mouth-sucking part!) to be freed from the surrounding tissue.
You can use a Tick Twister on both humans and animals, and it can be disinfected with normal disinfectants making it reusable. It is also good to note that this product is made from recyclable plastic which can also be incinerated without pollution.
Carrier of Disease
With May being declared National Lyme Disease Awareness Month, it is also important to talk about how ticks are involved. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can be spread to humans by infected ticks. Only a small number of ticks are infected with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, and a tick bite can only cause Lyme disease in humans if the tick has already bitten an infected animal.
A circular rash around a tick bite – this can appear up to three months after the bite and usually lasts for several weeks,
A high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery,
Muscle and joint pain,
Tiredness and loss of energy
Some may also develop more severe symptoms months or years later but these are more likely if treatment is delayed. If you are unsure or have any of the symptoms associated with a tick bite, head to your local GP. (Information taken from the NHS website)
Humans: ticks prefer warm, moist, dark areas of the body so it may be worth getting someone (who you know and trust, don’t go asking a stranger!) to inspect the areas of your body which are hard to see. Or failing that, use a mirror.
Areas to check: belly button, around or in the ear, hairline, scalp, back of knee, elbow, between fingers and toes, underarms and any pressure points where clothing presses the skin such as underwear elastic, belts and collar.
Animals: ticks will often opt for areas where the skin is folded or crevices, so examine your pet as thoroughly as possible. Use a brush against, as well as with, the hair growth to part it so any lurking ticks can be seen.
Areas to check: inside and outside the ears, around the eyes and muzzle, between pads and toes and even around the private areas.
How to protect yourself from ticks
Be savvy and keep in mind where ticks are usually found; remember woodland, forests and fields are the main attraction of ticks.
Use a repellent; although there is no vaccine to defend against Lyme disease, prevention is key.
Carry a tick remover and antiseptic wipes. The sooner these buggers are safely removed, the less chance of disease being transmitted.
Cover your skin. Although shorts and t-shirts seem like a great idea in the warmer months, wearing clothing that covers you up and keeping trousers tucked into socks will deter ticks from choosing you, and will also prevent them from crawling inside your trouser legs, socks, and shoes. (Did anyone else just shudder at the mere thought of that happening?)
Check your body after every ramble and check your clothing and pets too to ensure ticks are not brought into your home.
Protect your pets and talk to your vet about tick treatments.
Purchase a Tick Twister
I have started carrying my very own Tick Twister around with me - I was kindly gifted the O'Tom Tick Twister ClipBox by the folks at SimplyV - so, if you’re keen to purchase one yourself please check out the details below of where you can pick up a Tick Twister today.
Use code CORNISH to get 5% off any Tick Twister product over at SimplyV.
*Code cannot be used in conjunction with any other coupon code.*
Be sure to follow Cornish Ramblings on Instagram where we will be sharing an exciting giveaway soon.
If you have any queries about anything mentioned in this blog then please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can speak with my contacts at Simply V and Tick Twister.
Thank you to Simply V for kindly gifting Cornish Ramblings with this product and to my little sister for being my wonderful photographer!
Mailing List and Socials
Be sure to follow Cornish Ramblings on Instagram to keep up to date with everything we are getting up to. I will be sharing more information, images and videos on the features of the Tick Twister too.
If you've yet to sign up to the Cornish Ramblings mailing list, be sure to do so today to receive blogs like these, newsletters and much more straight to your inbox.