Source:Julie Cross, Manly Daily
Tick expert claims warmer weather is killing the deadly creatures
HOT, dry spring weather could be helping to reduce the number of people being bitten by ticks on the northern beaches, according to an expert.
Professor Sheryl van Nunen said she had been seeing fewer people with tick anaphylaxis than normal due to the lack of rain.
“We had a very wet autumn which helped boost tick numbers,” she said.
“Ticks are terribly reliant on humidity and very sensitive to dryness.
“It’s great that we’ve had such dry weather, which I hope is helping to kill off some ticks.”
Professor Sheryl van Nunen.
The professor said she normally saw at least one patient with tick anaphylaxis every week but she had not seen one such person this month.
However, she was still seeing the same number of patients with tick-induced mammalian meat allergies because they tended to have ongoing issues.
Prof van Nunen said the northern beaches was one of the world’s hot spots for ticks.
She estimated there were 1200 people on the peninsula with a meat allergy caused by a tick bite.
The hot, dry spring weather could be helping to reduce the number of people being bitten by ticks
Publicity on how to correctly remove the bloodsucking parasite may also be helping to reduce the number of cases this spring.
“The message is to dab, not grab the tick,” Prof van Nunen said.
She said people should remove small ticks by dabbing on scabies cream, while larger ticks should be blasted with dry ice.
Bushland around Manly Dam is a hotspot for ticks.
Both treatments should kill the tick in place and it should drop off after a couple of hours, although it could take up to two days.
She said using household tweezers to remove them often resulted in squeezing the tick, causing it to release its poison, which was to be avoided.
“The best advice is not to get a tick by dressing appropriately and getting your backyard tick-sprayed,” she said.
For more information on ticks go to tiara.org.au.
A tick bite can result in allergic reactions to the tick, including anaphylaxis
Ticks can cause allergic reactions to mammalian meats such as beef, pork, lamb, kangaroo, goat and venison
Some people are so sensitive they even react to mammal products, such as milk and some medicines containing animal products