Personal protective equipment is usually not something that hobby shooters think about much at all, although we will all have some PPE on our person every time we head out stalking, lamping or any other type of shooting for that matter.
The most common that we will all have with us will be a mobile phone, in a way this is a vital tool for lone shooting as a just in-case you need help which means that it falls under PPE. For the main most of us use a moderator on our rifle, that too is PPE to help protect our hearing. So we do use personal protective equipment much more often that you think, but should we give more thought to what we use and how we can better protect ourselves?
Using the correct and proper equipment can be really easy and help to stop the spread of certain diseases and also infections. Simple items like having disposable gloves with you to avoid getting bloody and mucky hands even if you are not field gralloching are in my view essential. You should always wear gloves when gralloching, it seems to be fashionable to not bother, I do quite a few DSC2’s for people and when I ask them why they don’t wear gloves I often get the response “a little blood never hurt anybody”. Well that simply isn’t true and blood to blood infections are fairly common but sometimes not noticed.
Taking care that you don’t get bitten by ticks should towards the top of your list of things to think about as well. Tick bites on their own are not too serious but if that tick is infected with Lyme disease then you can have all sorts of problems in the future that can affect your health is serious ways. When it comes to ticks I take this really seriously and have been using clothing produced by Rovince UK for a while now and I have to say since I have I have not had a single tick on me.
Ticks are second only to mosquitoes for carrying disease to humans, and this year reports have said that ticks are really bad. This is probably due to the last two winters being mild and wet allowing the ticks to get a real foot hold in areas that they might not otherwise.
Much like blood to blood transfer that I mentioned earlier, ticks can carry a number of blood diseases that they picked up from a previous host and can spread them to the next host. If that is a human then there can be real trouble because we do not have the same immunity to these diseases and wild animals have. The primary illness to affect humans is Lyme disease (Borreliosis). Not every tick carries Lyme or other infective organisms, and not every bite will transmit disease. However the longer an infected tick is allowed to feed, the more likely it is that an infection will result.
The most common sign of Lyme disease is an expanding rash and often but not always takes the look of a target or bulls eye. You might get more than one rash or none which is why it is so difficult to diagnose. Other symptoms can include a fever, headache, chills, muscle and join aches and extreme fatigue. If left untreated the infection can progress and result in a much more serious conditions including skin lesions, heart abnormalities and even neurological symptoms such as paralysis.
Ticks can also transmit more than one disease to humans in one go and this is known as co-infection. This can alter the presentation of Lyme and its symptoms and will also affect the type and the duration of the treatment needed.
If you are bitten by a tick then you need to remove it as quickly and safely as possible. The best way to do this is with a tick removal tool or a pair of fine nosed tweezers. When removing the tick grasp it as close to the skin as possible and steadily pull the tick outwards without jerking or twisting. Never cover the tick in vasoline, burn it or freeze it. This is thought to shock the tick into spitting blood back into your vein which if the tick is carrying the infection will be transmitted into your blood stream.
If you have been out stalking or even for a walk in the woods you should check yourself when you get home, areas of the body such as the crotch, belly button, behind the ears, back of the knees, elbows and areas that underwear touch your skin ned to all be checked to make sure you don’t have tick on you that has either just or is about to bite you.
The very best way to avoid the transmission of tick borne disease is to not get bitten in the first place and I would highly recommend Rovince clothing which in my experience do the job like no other product.