Tick Protection

incognito® spray, roll-on, lotion and Suncream are effective against ticks, and help to prevent tick-borne diseases.  

What is a tick?

Ticks are oval, flat arachnids – related to spiders, mites and scorpions. They are very tiny and not easy to spot - a nymph is mostly under a millimetre and an unfed adult is approximately 2.5 -3mm.  When they've fed, they engorge with blood and can swell up like a balloon to as large as 10mm. Their colour range is from reddish brown to black.

They are found in urban gardens, woodland, heathland, moorland, forests and parks – anywhere with long grass and shrubbery they climb up in order to brush onto hosts (people and animals). When ticks bite it is usually painless and goes unnoticed – people usually only see the tick on their skin when it has fed. If undisturbed, a tick can feed for up to 5-6 days before letting go and dropping off.

The risk of transmission of Lyme disease increases the longer the tick is attached, but the disease can be transmitted in less than 24 hours, especially if it is wrongly removed with tweezers. (Their fluids can end up being injected into the blood stream; seek immediate medical attention if this happens.)

Lyme isn't the only disease you can get from ticks.  Others include Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) and a disease which infects the red blood cells, caused by the Babesia parasite. Pets are also at risk particularly from a new species to the UK; the European meadow tick, which can be fatal to dogs.

The tiny ticks 'cling on' to you once they bite. They then become swollen with blood which they digest. The bacteria are normally carried in their gut, and only travel up to their mouth and into your skin once fed and are engorged. This normally takes at least 24 hours, although can be less if the tick has only partially fed. Therefore, if you remove a tick  within a day it is very unlikely you will develop Lyme disease, even if it was an infected tick.  Below are some good tips to avoid tick bites.

“This useful mnemonic will help protect you against ticks:

T – Think TICKS!
I –  Insect repellent is a necessity. Preferably use a PMD-based repellent such as incognito, most synthetic ones do not give complete protection. 
C – Cover up bare skin as much as possible and apply insect repellent to the rest of your body. Check your entire body after outings including hidden crevices such as behind the ears. Pets should be checked too.
K – Keep to the path and keep trousers tucked into socks. Your life is more important than fashion!
S –  Symptoms should be checked by a medical professional if you're unsure.

Where are ticks? 

They are anywhere In the UK that has high vegetation especially long grass, even in your own garden and parks. 7 out of 8 of the Royal Parks in London have ticks that carry Lyme according to a study carried out by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Although the highest numbers of Lyme disease cases are reported from people living in the South of England, any area where humans can encounter infected ticks poses a public health risk. There is an increased risk when travelling in Europe and the Americas.

Ticks are active at temperatures above 8 degrees Celsius, so they are most common between March and October due to wetter weather and warmer temperatures.

Ticks and Lyme disease

It is estimated that in the UK up to 20% of ticks are infected with Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria which causes Lyme disease.

There are around 3,000 new cases of Lyme disease in England and Wales each year, though around 20% of these reported cases are caught while abroad in other European countries. Experts believe there are 6 times more cases than reported.

In the USA, there are around 30,000 cases each year. Lyme disease cases have been reported in nearly every state across the USA but 95% of these cases have come from 14 states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.)

How do you know if you have Lyme disease?

You can contract Lyme disease through the bite of an infected tick.

Stage one Lyme disease:

Look out for a distinctive circular ‘bull’s eye’ rash at the site of the tick bite any time up to a month after being bitten. This rash is called erythema migrans.

While this rash usually fades within a month, this doesn’t mean the infection has cleared from the body. Also 1 in 3 people with Lyme disease don’t develop this rash.

Flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, muscle pain, stiffness and joint pain, headaches and a high temperature or chills can signal Lyme disease.

Stage two Lyme disease:

Weeks or months after the tick bite, the infection can spread. This can cause pain and swelling in the joints – most commonly affecting the knee joints. These episodes can last for three months.

Stage three/chronic Lyme disease:

If left untreated more serious symptoms can develop and persist.

Numbness or pain, paralysis of muscles, memory and concentration problems. Heart burn, dizziness and chest pain. Severe headaches, stiff necks and increased sensitivity to light. Some people develop long-term symptoms similar to fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. This is known as post-infectious Lyme disease.

If you know you have been bitten by a tick and experience any of these symptoms you should see your GP.

There is no vaccine to prevent Lyme disease! Therefore the only way to prevent Lyme disease is to not get bitten by ticks…

How to reduce the risk of being bitten by ticks:

  • Use incognito® insect repellent sprayroll-on or Suncream which is clinically tested 100% effective against ticks in the UK & USA.
  • Avoid walking through long grass, or where you know ticks live. Particularly in summer.
  • When in the countryside, stick to footpaths and away from long grass and overgrown vegetation. Ticks crawl up.

After returning from a tick-infested area:

  • Check yourself, children and pets for ticks before returning indoors.
  • Shower or bath as soon as possible
  • Although you can remove ticks with tweezers, unless you know what you’re doing it can be dangerous as if the body breaks away with the head still buried in the skin, the tick can regurgitate its contents into the persons body, transmitting Lyme disease.