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These small but, bite-y, parasites become more active around September, and it's not uncommon for them to latch onto hikers or their dogs. There are around 70 Species of ticks in Australia, though the most important is the Paralysis Tick - accounting for 95% of all tick-bites on the East Coast.
The Paralysis tick (also known as the ‘Bush Tick’) is responsible for the majority of tick-born illnesses in Australia, thus, it is essential that hikers know how to prevent and treat their bites. This species of tick is most common to warm, humid environments where there are plenty of animals to act as hosts. Paralysis Ticks feed on blood to develop through their life-cycle (Egg → Larvae → Nymph → Adult), with the adult turning a grey-blue color when full.
Once a tick makes its way onto a human or animal, it uses its sharp mouthparts to attach itself to the skin. It then injects a potentially poisonous saliva that prevents blood from clotting, allowing it to feed on the blood. Along with redness and swelling around the tick-bite, there is also the risk that ticks may stimulate an allergic reaction or pass on illnesses. If the tick is removed quickly then there is no medical risk, therefore it is essential you can identify the symptoms of a tick-bite early.
The health issues, however minor or major, a tick-bite causes is entirely dependent on whether the host experiences an allergic reaction to the tick or whether it is a paralysis tick that has bitten you.
The best way to avoid being bitten by a tick, is by taking precautions to avoid tick-infested areas and limiting the chance that they can latch onto your skin. To do this we recommend;
If you are allergic to ticks and get bitten, do not try to remove the tick without the help of a medical professional. Though if you find you’ve been bitten by a tick and possess no allergies, do the following;
So make sure you are prepared and have some heavy-duty repellent, rubbing alcohol and a set of fine tipped tweezers in your pack on your next wilderness jaunt. Tick season doesn’t mean the end of your hikes, but it’s essential you take precautions to avoid being bitten and know how to treat tick-bites infield.