Experts are warning Australians about the reality of tick-borne illnesses as people head outdoors in the warmer months, either in Australia or for overseas travel.
Bushland and long grasses are ideal environments for ticks, and paralysis ticks can turn up in your garden if you live near these areas.
Left untreated, tick-borne illnesses can cause issues with cognitive impairment, eyesight, mobility and overall wellbeing, and can lead to chronic and debilitating illness.
According to Dr Mualla McManus, Director of the Karl McManus Foundation and infectious disease researcher, the most important thing is for people to go immediately to see a doctor if they have symptoms they think might be caused by a tick bite.
These symptoms can include cognitive impairment, muscle aches and pains, stiff neck, tiredness, and sensitivity to light.
In regards to prevention, visiting your doctor and vigilance is the key staying fit and healthy during summer, Dr McManus says.
“Many people don’t connect the symptoms they are experiencing with being bitten by a tick. Because of this it may not be raised when they visit the doctor, which can lead to a misdiagnosis. So, it’s important to raise tick bite experiences with your doctor even if some time has passed.”
Some top tips from the Karl McManus Foundation for staying protected this summer are:
1. Wear light coloured clothing when outdoors so you can see small ticks.
2. Check your body, children and pets thoroughly when you return from outdoor activity – this includes behind the ears, in the hair and back of the head.
3. Once home, place your clothing in the dryer on high heat for 30 minutes to kill any ticks.
4. Cut grass and trim shrubs and small trees around your home regularly.
5. Grow insect repelling plants in your garden such as chrysanthemums, citronella, lavender or garlic.
For more information about ticks click here – and check out the video below for information about removing them.