So yeh, one goes in the bush or long grass and occasionally you find a tick or 2 on you afterwards. No big deal, pull it out, maybe a bit red and itchy for a few days.

About a year ago all this changed for me. I had a tick attach to my inner forearm, it hurt, I was able to pull it out immediately  with my fingers. Pain continued at the location and a warm pinkness quickly  developed around the area.  The pain and redness continued to develop over the day and I eventually presented to our local Polyclinic where competent staff diagnosed cellulitis ( infection ) at the site. I was put on oral antibiotics and sent home. The condition worsened by morning and so I spent 3 days in hospital on IV antibiotics followed by ongoing oral treatment post discharge.  My doctor later confirmed what I already knew that untreated the infection would have turned to septicaemia with fatal results.  From talking with hospital staff infection post tick ‘bite’ is quite common.


A tick that I found on my clothing,  posing ready to grab again. 


I have a bit of a medical background so after this event did a fair bit of reading regarding ticks and tick-borne disease.

Here is a link to the Australian Association of Bush Regenerators page where there is all sorts of  information, and lots of useful links within

Here is a link to an ABC  Catalyst episode on ticks and tick allergy, you can watch the video or read the transcript.

So what do I do differently after my bad episode.  I don’t go into dense bush, you can see and photograph plenty from tracks and firetrails.  When I get home I strip off and check myself and my clothes for ticks. I wear gumboots quite a bit, long sleeves, hat and I spray insect repellant on as well.  I’ve only had one tick in me since the hospitalization ( I was lazy and didn’t do a strip search that day ) I used ‘Wartner’ freezing spray to kill the tick and had an uneventful recovery. I also keep antiseptic cream in my little bush pack and some fine tweezers.

So still enjoy the Aussie bush but be aware of the serious problems that ticks sometimes cause.  Have a look at the links above, be alert to the issues and have a plan of management worked out before you find the next tick in you.