Health Information

How to protect yourself and your family from TICKS:

What are ticks and where are they found?

Ticks are parasites, they feed on blood from the host to which they are attached to without giving back any benefit. In fact, they can cause severe health problems.
Ticks attach to and feed on animals and humans. The most common tick in Australia is the paralysis tick or Ixodes Holocyclus. This species can normally be found along the state’s eastern coastal strip and inland of New South Wales for approximately 30 kilometres. Since most people reside near the coast, the chances of encountering these parasites are quite high.
Just like any other insect, ticks commonly reside in humid and moist bushy areas. They attach to and feed on animals that pass by, and use this as their mode of transport from host to host. Most of the time, animals and humans get ticks from brushing past bushes or trees where these parasites are located.

Mammalian tick allergy

Tick bites can cause mild to life-threatening allergic reactions to mammalian meats such as beef, pork, lamb, kangaroo, goat and venison.
The tick bites occur before any allergic reactions to mammalian meats develop.
The allergic reactions to meat are typically delayed for 2-10 hours after eating the meat.
The allergen in the meat to which people react is called “alpha-gal”.
Some people are so sensitive to alpha-gal, they react to mammal products, particularly, their milk and gelatine. Any product derived from mammals may cause allergic reactions, making avoidance very difficult as the allergen may be found in a wide range of agents used in medical treatments, as well as in food products.

How to safely remove ticks:

If you have an adult tick:

It is very important not to disturb it during the process of removing it, so the best way is to FREEZE it with ether-containing spray, e.g. MEDI FREEZE TICK OFFFreeze it, don’t squeeze it!

Place the spray approx. 0.5 cm above the tick and spray 5 times. The tick will die instantaneously.

Wait for the tick to drop off (up to one day) or, if it doesn’t drop off on its own, remove it with tweezers – it is ok now as the tick is dead – still taking the utmost care to not compress it.

If you have a small tick (larvae & nymphs):

Use permethrin cream, e.g. LYCLEARDab it, don’t grab it!

Just touch a bit of cream to the small tick, don’t rub it in and leave for 1-3 hours for the tick to die. Then wipe it off with a tissue.

Tick irritation treatment:

  1. Mild steroid cream to treat the inflammation:
  • Eumovate
  • Hydrocortisone
  1. Antihistamines to take down the itch:
  • Zyrtec
  • Claratyne
  • Telfast
  1. Cold compress to relieve the heat.

Prevention from ticks*:

  • DEET – containing repellents
  • Wearing long-sleeved clothes
  • Tucking your trousers into your socks
  • Mitey Tick-Off device – ultrasonic pulse repellent

*While no product is 100% effective, these methods may reduce the risk of tick bites.

 

Weblinks – References:

Tick Safe and the Mozzie Team – www. ticksafe.com.au

Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy – www.allergy.org.au

Department of Medical Entomology – www.medent.usyd.edu.au

The Department of Health – Tick bite prevention – www.health.gov.au

 

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