One of the unexpected duties of living in the African bush is checking yourself (and your partner!) for ticks.
I was told you can easily tell if you have them, because they itch, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for the few that both Chris and I have found so far, hence the need for the visual check. We’ve been used to ticks in California that can carry potentially fatal, and certainly nasty, lyme disease. Here, you can get tick bite fever (not all ticks carry it.) Apparently the symptoms are similar to flu. It’s treatable with antibiotics, but if you can tough it out, you build immunity. So each evening after a day out in the bush, we gently feel all over our bodies for any raised areas, that might be a tick. And then we check each other over the parts of our bodies that we can’t see for ourselves. Yes, whatever you’re thinking is probably true! Due to “bush toilet” visits during the day, tick check can sometimes feel like a very intimate doctor’s examination…
When we find the tiny black speck, we dab a little alcohol on it, then firmly use a pair of tweezers to pull it out. It’s important not to leave the head in, as the wound can get infected. We both have a couple of slightly infected tick bites, the head isn’t there still, but they probably got infected through general dust and dirt.
Nightly tick check has become an unexpected, yet necessary, part of life in the African bush!
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