I had my first experience with a tick this week, which came as a surprise because after 5 years of living on a bushy property in the sub tropics of Queensland I would have expected to be bitten earlier.
I noticed it in the evening when I felt the need to scratch my shoulder. I felt a small lump, but couldn?t quite see it so I asked Peter to have a look.
He looked closely and could see some small legs moving and then realised it was a tick. Peter went to great length to ease it out gently with tweezers being sure not to leave the head imbedded. It took a good 5 minutes to remove the tick as it was intent on continuing to feed. When removing a tick, you need to ensure that you grasp the head as close to the skin as possible so that you don?t displace fluids from the tick into the wound.
The picture above shows a tick before and after feeding. It is a pretty ghastly little creature.
We have since done some investigating on the internet and found a very good article on the University of NSW Department of Medical Entomology
The recommended method of removal is spraying with an insecticide (pyrethroid based) and then leaving it to fall off, which usually happens within 24 hours. There are also available some specialist tools to remove the tick.
We have a many different species of tick in Australia, with the paralysis tick being of concern to us as it is found on the east coast of Australia and is often encountered by those in rural areas.
In most cases the tick bites are not serious. However, a few people develop life-threatening illnesses such as paralysis, tick typhus (caused by an infection carried by the ticks) or severe allergic reactions.
Using personal insect repellents will minimise the risk of a tick attaching to you and checking yourself regularly is a very good idea.
I am pleased to report that apart from some localised itching and a mark I am fit and well after my first tick bite!