Lyme Disease for forestry workers, agricultural contractors, and estate workers.

Lyme Disease for forestry workers, agricultural contractors, and estate workers.

Lyme disease the basics

Lyme Disease for forestry workers, contractors, gillies, stalkers and estate workers.Lyme Disease for forestry workers, contractors, gillies, stalkers and estate workers. Lyme Disease is one of many diseases carried by ticks. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is carried by deer and sheep ticks across the UK. Infection occurs when an infected tick bites a human and transfers the bacteria into the blood stream.

The risk of contracting the bacteria is very low if a tick is removed promptly using a correct technique with “tick twisters”. Don’t use a lit cigarette end, a match head or substances such as alcohol or petroleum jelly to force the tick out.

Incidents of Lyme disease for forestry workers have increased, particularly in land based workers, e.g. shepherds, stalkers, forestry workers, ecologists. If Lyme disease confirmed it is reportable under the RIDDOR Regulations.

 

What if I think I may have Lyme disease?

Some people who have been bitten develop a reaction at the bite site and a characteristic red rash and swelling. The rash can appear up to 3 months after being bitten by a tick and usually lasts for several weeks. Most rashes appear within the first 4 weeks.

Lyme disease - Bulls eye rashNot all people develop the rash. Other early symptoms can include fever, joint pain, swelling of limbs and fatigue. Anyone who suspects that they have developed a reaction to a tick bite should visit a GP without delay and mention ticks, Lyme disease and their occupation.

 

The skin will be red and the edges may feel slightly raised. Note not everyone with Lyme disease gets the rash.

Some people also have flu-like symptoms such as:

  1. a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
  2. headaches
  3. muscle and joint pain
  4. tiredness and loss of energy

Most tick bites are harmless

Only a small number of ticks are infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. A tick bite can only cause Lyme disease in humans if the tick has already bitten an infected animal. But it’s still important to be aware of ticks and to safely remove them as soon as possible, just in case.

How to spot and remove ticks – see our blog.

Treating Lyme disease

If you develop symptoms of Lyme disease, you will normally be given a course of antibiotics.

Check out these other sources of information –

First Aid Training Co-operative can deliver EFAW+F or FAW+F courses for you at your chosen venue or if you are a smaller operator you can send staff on one of our public EFAW+F courses. One of the topics of these courses is Lyme disease. Where issues around prevention, recognition and treatment are discussed.

+F is a generic term mean ‘+ Forestry operations’. These courses are also relevant to many outdoor workers employed in the agriculture or horticulture sectors, landscaping and grounds maintenance, gillies and stalkers, plus fencing and machinery contractors.

Our First Aid +F courses build on the skills from Emergency First Aid at Work or First Aid at Work first aid training to provide scenario based, practical first aid skills and knowledge. These courses are some of the best in the industry and include dealing with catastrophic bleeding, crushing injury, Lyme disease, hypothermia and Emergency Action Planning. These courses have been developed to comply with Forestry Commission +F as per the “First Aid at Work – Forestry Commission Policy” and fit with FISA best practice.

Digital outdoor first aid manualFirst Aid Training Co-operative has also developed a digital first aid manual, which can be downloaded to your phone or tablet so it is available to you where ever you are. This is a specialist first aid manual for those working in outdoor remote environments. If you operate in remote locations this means your first aid manual is always in your pocket.