Tick Borne Diseases


As the weather warms up in Sydney, encounters with ticks become more

common as adult ticks actively seek a host in the moist humid bush. The tick

crawls up the body underneath clothing and attaches by biting through the skin,

often around the head or neck. The most common reaction to a tick is simply

mild irritation and itching at the bite site. More serious reactions include:

  • Allergic reaction to the tick, ranging from local swelling to anaphylaxis
  • Tick induced mammalian meat allergy
  • Transmission of infections
  • Tick paralysis (children and small animals)
  • The best way to avoid ticks is by using an Insect repellent when in high-risk

    areas. Whereas common advice for tick removal is to use fine tipped tweezers

    or methylated sprits, the Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy 

    (ASCIA) advises NOT to do this as irritating or disturbing the tick may cause 

    the tick to inject more bacteria and allergen containing saliva.

    ASCIA's advice is to kill the tick first, with the method depending on the size of

    the tick. Small ticks can be killed with; permethrin containing creams, used

    as soon as possible and repeated one minute later. Large ticks can be killed

    with an ether containing freeze spray and then removed as soon as possible.

    If tick allergy is already present, the tick should be removed under medical


    Ether containing sprays are sold in the pharmacy for the treatment of warts 

    and are not registered for the removal of ticks. Their use is still considered

    controversial with many websites, including the NSW Department of Health, 

    not advising on their use for tick removal due to the lack of evidence.

    We are following the advice from ASCIA which is based on a consensus of expert

    opinion of specialist doctors experienced in the treatment of tick borne disease,

    rather than waiting on the results of formal clinical studies. Care should be

    taken when using these sprays.

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