tick insectIt is anticipated that 2012 could be the year of the tick.

Recent news reveals that the ticks are coming… and this year they will be more prominent than ever in Scotland. This is not good news for walkers because of the potential risk of contracting Lyme’s Disease, but there are many precautions that can be taken to avoid a bad dose of this flu-like illness.

What are ticks?

Ticks are tiny bugs that thrive in bracken. This bracken has spread alarmingly after a dry winter and an EU ban on the herbicide Asulam. Ramblers are particularly prone to tick bites, which are the main cause of Lyme disease, and can prove fatal if left untreated.

What can you do to help yourself?

Get yourself a tick remover to remove the nasty little biters. Make sure you check yourself over at the end of the day to check that a tick, or ticks!! have not attached themselves to you for a feed.

The best way to avoid ticks is to wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers, but sadly our canine friends can’t follow the same guidelines.

This is what you are trying to avoid….

With the much anticipated milder weather on the way, it pays to take a little time to check your arms and legs after any outings into the countryside (walking, biking, canoeing, etc), and if your dog seems in any discomfort then check its coat for any small lumps and bumps.

Although they love bracken, home for ticks is often long grass, which most dogs enjoy charging through as well so a tick remover should be on every dog lover’s list of must-have items.

Advice about dealing with ticks on the Scottish Mountaineering website

How to identify Lyme’s disease

Remember, if the ticks don’t get you, the fearsome midges might!

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