We are experiencing the hottest February on record in the U.K. While we all want to make the most of it, we must be aware that when the weather heats up, the chances of being bitten by a tick increases as well. Many of us are all too familiar with tick bite prevention methods which is so positive but sometimes educating others is more difficult as they may believe that Lyme disease ‘will never happen to them’ and that a tick bite is no big deal. We never want to come across as a nag but we do have a duty of care to educate other people as much as they will allow us to when it comes to tick bite prevention methods.
It is always good to lead by example. By practising prevention methods religiously, they become second nature and any children in your family will soon pick up on their importance.
Remember, just talking to a parent in the school playground, or someone in your local supermarket about prevention methods can go SUCH a long way when it comes to protecting and saving lives.
Hopefully with all of our collective hard work, more people are becoming aware of the dangers tick bites pose and the importance of prevention techniques.
I asked our Online Community whether tick bite prevention techniques are being carried out by both members and their family and friends and if not, why not:
‘I think this is a really hard one as knowing all the risks my family don’t always take it seriously – I’m not sure why. I’ll have to ask them!’
‘I’d like to know what precautions to take while gardening. Are people careful every time they go outside and cut a plant back etc.?’
‘No-one really believes it can happen to them.’
‘Not only did I think it could never happen to me, I had never heard the words ‘Lyme disease’ until my doctor told me !!!’
‘I think most people presume they will spot a tick, unfortunately.’
‘I mention it to everyone I know, meet and like (i.e. not EVERYONE). I don’t recall anybody being too interested.’
“Be aware of the symptoms;” a seemingly inglorious attempt to encourage them to educate themselves.’
‘Some do, most don’t. You don’t get it until you get it. I think most people just think I’m being hysterical.’
‘Assuming I’m able to go hiking this summer it will no longer be in my previous garb of floaty dress and hiking boots. I knew nothing of this illness until I got an equivocal ELISA (followed by +ve Immunoblot test) after having been increasingly unwell for over a year so. No precautions taken back then – I’ve bought my first pair of trousers this century hoping to be out and about but covered up come summer.’
‘I stay indoors now’
‘The sad thing is for me since I go on about Lyme most days on my news feed on social media, my friends have sent me pictures of rashes, not only of themselves or children, but of their friends and family too. I always give good advice and they seek medical attention and I stress to them the requirement of antibiotics and blood tests etc. I’d like to think I’ve saved a few families the heartache I’ve had to suffer from as a result of my Lyme experience.’
I think it is far to say that there is plenty more awareness work to be done. There is SO much more we can all learn and share and keeping the conversation going about Lyme is vital.
REMEMBER, keep safe! The height of the tick season is fast approaching. Here are the prevention methods you need to be taking and sharing with others:
-Wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts when in the outdoors.
-Make your yard unfriendly to ticks by clearing wooded areas, keeping underbrush to a minimum, and putting woodpiles in areas with lots of sun.
-Use insect repellent.
-Be vigilant. Check your children, pets, and yourself for ticks. Don’t assume you can’t be infected again; people can get Lyme disease more than once.
-Remove ticks using one of the correct techniques and alert your doctor if you experience a rash or feel unwell following a tick bite.
Be so proud of yourselves! Let’s keep raising awareness and fighting hard.