Keep An Eye Out – Ticks Are About

Keep an eye out - ticks are about

Eight years ago while camping in the Wolgan Valley, I woke up around midnight in a frantic frenzy of itching. I rumbled around my sleeping bag for my head torch and flicked it on to discover that my thighs, neck and armpits were covered in nasty crimson welts.  

As I desperately battled the overwhelming urge to scratch and my partner fumbled in his first aid kit for some antihistamine, I wondered what the f**k was wrong with me. I’d never had hives before, so it was quite distressing.  

 I experienced several more episodes of random hives in the middle of the night over the next two years before I established the cause: a history of tick bites followed by one delicious mouthful of pig on a spit, or similar mammalian meat proteins, can trigger an allergic reaction called Mammalian Meat Allergy. For some people it can be anaphylactic. Luckily for me it was just hives. 

But as our planet gets hotter and wetter, it provides the ideal environment for ticks, particularly along the east coast of Australia during spring and summer. Add to this a lack of wildlife to nourish them (thanks largely to feral predation and habitat destruction) and we nature-loving humans are prime targets!

Keep an eye out - ticks are about

Australian researcher, Dr Sheryl A van Nunen, was the first to make the connection between previous tick bites and mammalian meat. She has developed new guidelines for preventing and treating tick bits in the hope of helping the growing number of Australians with the allergy.  

Top tick prevention tips  

  • Cover up: wear long-sleeve shirts and ankle-length pants as well as a broad brimmed hat and socks tucked into your trousers. 
  • Spray your clothes with 20+% Deet whenever you’re in the bush where ticks are prevalent.  
  • Choose coastal rock hikes and avoid bush-bashing during spring and summer. 
  • Check for ticks before, during and after your adventures.  

Treatment for tick bites

  • Act immediately when you feel a tick crawling on or burrowing into you.  
  • Apply a pea-size blob of Lyclear and leave on until the tick is dead. Cover with a Band-Aid if needed OR 
  • Kill the tick instantly with Tick Off or Wart-Off.
  • Don’t attempt to remove the tick. It’s best to leave it there until it falls off or go to your doctor ASAP so they can treat. 
  • Freeze don’t squeeze. 
  • Dab don’t grab. 

Check out this link for more information:

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