UKSN HUB Launch

The UKSN Hub has finally gone live to all none paid members of UKSN and takes over our previous membership site. The site has been built from the ground up utilizing a platform called vBulletin. Integrated into this secure HTTPS site are many features we feel will benefit members from a fully integrated forum, charter area, Individual member blogs and more.

The Hub will be UKSN’s central meeting and info point for all members.

PAID MEMBERSHIP

Moving forward membership will be directly purchased through the hub – Doing this will instantly upgrade your account to SN1 status without any human intervention. This means new members can immediately access the whole site without delay.

Paid Members additionally get:

  • Access to the SN1 forum
  • Ability to create/register a charter
  • Ability to create a personal blog
  • Enhanced private messages
  • Personal profile customization including a personal avatar and signature.
  • Create Events and Photo galleries
  • Download & upload attachments

RE-REGISTER?

If you were originally registered to the old site you will need to re-register for the HUB. Unfortunately we were unable to transfer data due to the differences in platform structure.

To visit the Hub ‘CLICK HERE’

 

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The myth of the prepper / survivalist.

The media have created the myth of the prepper/survivalist.
They are portrayed as strange hoarding folk that wish for the end of the world as we know it so they can smugly produce cans of beans whilst others starve.

I’m going to try to burst that bubble.

We have a spare tire in the car. We don’t want to get a puncture but we carry the spare.
We have insurance for the house, we don’t want to be burgled but we have insurance.

Prepping is the spare tire, the insurance policy.
It is a buffer for when times get bad, job loss, sickness or bad weather. It is also a buffer should there be a bigger disaster.
We live on an island that doesn’t produce all its own food. A disruption to the supply chain would mean severe restrictions on what food is available.
Rationing was imposed during WW2 and beyond because of this.

We keep a little extra in, a few more cans and packets of food.
A pantry like grandma used to have, bits an pieces that can be used to make “meals from nothing”.

If severe weather hits the UK the distribution networks would struggle to maintain power to homes, so we have a few battery lights and some candles.

We have first aid kits, a decent one in the house and a basic one in the car.

We are putting together “bug out bags”, this is just a buzzword for “a bag with everything you might need if you have to leave home for a short period of time”
You can see why the term was coined, it’s a bit of a mouthful.
The bug out bag is another insurance policy, it has some food, water, shelter and change of clothes. It can be used for a hospital stay, an emergency evacuation (i.e. flooding), or for an overnight bag for an impromptu camping trip.

Prepared folk aren’t nutjobs, they are taking sensible precautions against possible problems.

Carl Alpha-Greywolf

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Solar Generator Project – Can You help? Business Sponsorship?

Im proposing we build a solar generator for UKSN usage at CAMP 1 and other future main camps. The device will allow all SN1 members to freely charge any USB equipment such as phones, UV-5R radios and more on a fair use policy. It will additionally allow us to power lighting and other required equipment such as cameras.

What is a solar generator?

In short the device is a large battery bank that is charged via solar panels. This particular device will contain multiple USB ports to allow the fast charging of USB devices.

How can i help? 

If you are a UKSN member and want to help fund the project with whatever spare ‘change’ you have – Click the link below. Alternatively if you have any spare equipment to donate please get in touch by emailing glyn.smith@uksn.org.uk

Simply click  >>>>>HERE<<<<<< to donate

 

I run a business and want to help – What do i get in return?

In return for your £60+ donation you get:

  • Your logo on the main project case
  • Your logo and website on a large banner which will advertise to members how to use the box. This will be displayed at camps and events.
  • A thank you post on our public facing Facebook page, website and main group.

Simply email glyn.smith@uksn.org.uk to learn more or donate by clicking the link below.

Simply click >>>>>HERE<<<<<< to donate

 

Thank you for reading!

Glyn

 

WITH THANKS TO:

  • Ian M for donating the heavy duty Amazon rack case 8/2/16

 

 

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UKSN Christmas Raffle (Raffle Draw)

UKSN Christmas Raffle

WINNERS ARE:

SN1 PRIZE – 45: SIMON TAYLOR

FIFTH – 233: SIMON TAYLOR

FORTH – 4: ALAN BARR

THIRD – 37: JON MYERSCOUGH

SECOND – 101: DAN WALKER

FIRST – 137: GLYN SMITH

 

Well done to all who entered – We hope you have a great Christmas and want to wish you and your family’s all the best.

 

///RAFFLE NOW CLOSED ///

Treat yourself or a loved one this Christmas to a UKSN raffle ticket. There is multiple chances to win with many prize categories exceeding £179.99 worth of kit.

SN1 members additional get 1 additional FREE ticket per ticket purchased.

The total combined prize fund is well over a staggering:

£623

The provisional draw date is:

18th December 2016

To enter simply follow the instructions below:

  • Step 1: Pay £5 or multiples of via paypal (friends and family) to: tomahawkwes@yahoo.co.uk

Please include your Name and Address in the additional notes/Comments area. If you are an SN1 member please include your SN1 number to get the free tickets.

  • Step 2: Wait for the draw – Simples!!!!

There is no maximum number of tickets so go wild

 

First Prize – Shelter- RRP £193.49

 DD XL Multicam Bundle + DD Underblanket  ////UPDATE: Now includes DD Tshirt////

dd_mc_set_0850_b-1

 

Included in the bundle:

  • DD XL Frontline Hammock MC– A year-round, any-climate hammock with an integrated bug net, spreader bars and strong webbing – allowing you to hang the hammock straight from the bag!
  • DD Tarp XL MC – Excellent shelters for hammock camping, with 19 attachment points and a PU 3,000mm waterproof coating.
  • DD Hammock Sleeve – MC – This waterproof sleeve extends over your hammock and allows you to set or pack it up in almost no time at all – ideal when you don’t want to hang about in the wind and rain…
  • DD Paracord (20m) – Enough cord to rig your tarp and still have plenty left over for other uses!
  • DD Underblanket – the DD Underblanket works to prevent heat loss from beneath you. Hang it under your hammock, and feel the warmth generated in minutes for a cosy night’s sleep!

Second Prize – Water Purification – RRP: £179.99

Lifesaver Bottle 4000, Sawyer Mini Black Edition, Millbank Bag & Water Purification Tablets secondprize

Included in the bundle:

  • Lifesaver Bottle 4000 – The LIFESAVER 4000UF bottle is a microbiological water filter that uses ultra filtration technology to filter out viruses, bacteria, cysts and parasites from contaminated water sources.
  • Sawyer Mini Black Edition – The Sawyer MINI Water Filter is rated to 0.1 micron (100Nm), weighs only 2 ounces, and filters up to 100,000 gallons (454,609 Litres)!  An award winning system that is reliable and easy to use.
  • Millbank Bag – The “Millbank bag” is hand made from untreated 12oz canvas which has been double stitched and based on the original British forces bag. It has been tried and tested over many a year and is an essential piece of kit for bushcraft, hiking, survival or preppers. 
  • Oasis Water Purification Tablets (10 tablets) – Water purification tablets are by far the cheapest and most effective short term solution against bacteria, spores, viruses and water borne diseases.

Third Prize – EDC and First Aid – Sponsored/Donated by Polymath Products – RRP: £108.13

LifeSystems Pocket First Aid Kit, Ledlenser T7M Tactical LED Torch,  Polymath UCSK – Ultra Compact Survival Kit,  Polymath MEDC First Aid Keyring, Polymath MEDC First Aid Keyring Refill Pack, Polymath EDC Fire Kit & Refill Bundle, Polymath TAC TAG – Kit Marker, Survival Signalling and Blood Type Tag 

 

polymath-products-logo-21polymath

Included in the bundle:

  •  Lifesystems Pocket First Aid kit is a small first aid dressing kit that is ideal for basic trekking, weekend rambling and family walks. It is well equipped for most minor injuries, and has a loop on the back of the pack that allows you to carry it either on a belt or on the outside of a rucksack.
  • Ledlenser’s T7M tactical torch is a must-have robust lighting tool for those who go in harm’s way. It’s been specially designed for police, emergency service units as well as search and rescue teams so that it can be used for self-defence, for breaking through panes of glass or for signalling to rescue services by means of the SOS function. Powerful, compact and robust it features a protective anodised coating for better grip and easy handling in the most testing of conditions.
  • Polymath Ultra Compact Survival Kit (UCSK): An ‘every day carry’ survival kit containing essentials for survival in an outdoors emergency. The contents of the UCSK have been carefully chosen to be effective and versatile, helping the user of the kit to quickly and efficiently address the crucial survival priorities: Fire Lighting, Water Purification, Shelter Building, Navigation and Signalling, Emergency First Aid and Food Capture.
  • Polymath The MEDC First Aid Keyring is the most compact first aid kit on the market. While there are many good larger first aid kits available, when you are out and about and end up with a nasty little cut, the first aid kit left at home or in your car is of no help. The MEDC First Aid Keyring is small and light enough to never be left behind, and is a perfect functional addition to a set of keys, or kept in even the smallest handbag or sports pouch.
  • Polymath MEDC First Aid Keyring Refill Pack: The tough plastic storage case contains two complete refill rolls, which allow you to quickly and easily refill your MEDC First Aid Keyring once the contents have been used. Each refill roll contains full instructions for use and is externally printed with earliest expiry date of contents, allowing for quick checking of expiry dates.
  • Polymath EDC Fire Kit & Refill Bundle: The EDC Fire Kit is a compact, lightweight and highly effective fire lighting kit, designed to allow its user to quickly and reliably get a fire started regardless of weather conditions. 
  • Polymath TAC TAG – Kit Marker, Survival Signalling and Blood Type Tag:The TAC TAG is a multi-function survival tag, providing kit marking, map illumination, search and rescue (SAR) signalling, and acting as an ABO blood group display tag for emergency situations.

Visit https://www.polymathproducts.co.uk/ to see more amazing products

 

Forth Prize – Merchandise and Comms – RRP: £85

UKSN Official Tshirt (Large), UKSN Alpha Baofeng UV5R Radio (Programmed), Official UKSN Rubber Patch + A secret item.

3rdprize

Included in the bundle:

  • UKSN Official Tshirt (Large)– The UKSN Official Tshirt is awesome in every way. Wearing this sweet Tshirt will possibly guarantee you feel instantly more Ray Mears with a sprinkle of Bear Grylls and a dash of Ian Nairn. Your skills will easily improve 3 – maybe 400%…
  • UKSN Alpha Baofeng UV-5R Radio – Programmed – Is UKSN’s original radio of choice and is now in its second iteration. Its feature rich and easy to use. Perfect for member use at events and for emergency’s.
  • Official UKSN Rubber Patch – Now you can show you are a proud member of the UKSN and put all other patches to shame. This ULTRA PREMIUM patch is for the patch connoisseur.
  • Secret Item – The Secret item will be something new – Something we have been working on……….

 

Fifth Prize – Cooking / Food – RRP £63.24 (Latest Prize)

BCB Bushcraft The Crusader Cooking System MKII, KombatUK Long Handled Ration Pack Spoon, Trekmates Adventure Food – Mince beef Hotpot, Trekmates Adventure Foods Desserts – Chocolate and Trekmates Adventure Foods – Expedition Breakfast.

 

uksnfood

Included in the bundle:

  • BCB Bushcraft: The Crusader Cooking System MKII – The original cherished Crusader system just got a whole lot better. Made from high grade aluminium and hard anodised it is; Lighter – Larger – With a Quicker cooking time Boil time is reduced for 500ml of water with an MRE retort ration to approximately 5.5mins using the fantastic Fire Dragon fuel. Only available hard anodised as it gives an easy to clean finished. Packed inside Multicam Pouch.

  • KombatUK Long Handled Ration Pack Spoon – The perfect long handled spoon for use with ration packs.

  • 3 Packs of TrekMates Adventure Foods – Trekmates food is nutritionally balanced and offer a good level of energy. Included are: Trekmates Adventure Food – Mince beef Hotpot, Trekmates Adventure Foods Desserts and Chocolate and Trekmates Adventure Foods – Expedition Breakfast.

 

SN1 ONLY BONUS PRIZE – Donated by Stitch Me Up ( Latest Prize)

UKSN Tshirt ( X Large), Large UKSN Sticker and UKSN Armband.

stichraffle

Included in the bundle:

  • UKSN Tshirt ( X Large) – The Tshirt is one of a kind and is the first t-shirt to feature the design.
  • UKSN Sticker – Another one of a kind item produced for us by Stitch Me Up.
  • UKSN Armband – Featuring the latest UKSN design and website, Great for showing your elegance during paintball or airsoft games. Can be used to store small items inside.

Visit http://www.stitchmeup.biz/ to see more amazing products

 

Please Note:

The Raffle is for mainland residents of the UK only. If you live off the beaten track you will need to cover any additional costs. UK only – We will not ship outside of the country.

 

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Steps to take if involved in a road accident.

Steps to take if involved in a road accident.

 

It’s not a nice thought but car accidents happen and it’s important to know what to do if  you’re caught up in one. If you take the right steps  immediately after a car crash you can stop a bad situation from getting worse and help to make sure your car insurance claim is paid out without a hitch.

 

Immediately after a car accident…

 

Stop

However minor you think a car accident is, you must stop. In fact, failing to do so is an offence under the Road Traffic Act. You should make sure your car’s engine is switched off and then turn your hazard lights on to alert other road users to your presence.

 

Call 999 or 101

Take a look around. If anyone has been injured in the car accident you should call the police (and an ambulance if necessary) as soon as possible. The police should also be called if the car accident is blocking the road or if you feel there was foul play involved –  if you suspect you’re a victim of a ‘crash for cash’ scam, for example, where a driver deliberately causes an accident to make a fraudulent insurance claim.

 

Giving details after a car accident

When you’re involved in a car accident you’re obliged to give your name and address to anyone else involved. You should stop and give your details if you crash into something on or near the road even if there aren’t any other people involved. If you hit a parked car, for example, you should leave your details on the windscreen. Avoid saying sorry or accepting blame for the accident until you know precisely what happened as it could count against you later on. Car accidents should also be reported to the police within 24 hours. Failure to do so could result in a fine, penalty points or even disqualification.

 

Collecting details after a car accident

If possible, you should collect names, addresses and contact details from any drivers, passengers and witnesses. Ask the other drivers involved for their car insurance details and try to establish whether they are the registered keeper of their vehicle. If they aren’t, find out who is and make a note of their name and address. Call 999 straightaway if someone leaves the scene of the car accident without giving their details.

 

Other information to collect from the accident

Here are some other important details you should try to collect at the scene of the car accident: The registration numbers of all vehicles involved, plus a note of each vehicle’s colour, make and model. The time and date of the crash. A sketch showing the positions of the vehicles involved. A description of the weather conditions, plus anything unusual you notice about the road quality or lighting. A list of damage to vehicles and a description of any injuries sustained by pedestrians, drivers and passengers. You may find it useful to take photos of the car accident for use as evidence. Some drivers carry disposable cameras for this purpose, but most modern mobile phones will take good enough shots to help you remember important details.

 

Car accident insurance claims

Once the dust has settled, you will need to inform your insurer of the accident and, if your car is sufficiently damaged, being the process of making a claim. Contact your insurer Make sure you tell your insurer about the car accident as soon as you can. Failure to do so within the time period set out in your policy may invalidate your cover, leaving you with a big bill to pay. Make sure you check the wording of your car insurance policy carefully as these time periods can be anything from two days to two weeks after the accident. You should always inform your car insurance company about an accident, even if you don’t want to make a claim. Information on other drivers If the car accident involved another vehicle you will need to provide your insurance company with details of the other driver. Try to provide: their name their address and contact details their vehicle registration number their car insurance company details. Details of the accident You will also need to give your insurance company as much information about the accident as possible. Use sketches to help explain what happened and include any pictures you took at the scene of the accident. Also provide the contact details of any witnesses.

 

What happens next?

If you want to continue with your claim, your insurance company will let you know what you need to do. If other people were involved in the accident, your insurance company will contact their insurance companies and resolve the claims

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Suspicious package/possible IED guidelines

Suspicious package/possible IED guidelines

police-heathrow

Dial 999

Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321

We want you to look out for the unusual – some activity or behaviour which strikes you as not quite right and out of place in your normal day to day lives. You may feel it’s probably nothing, but unless you trust your instincts and tell us we won’t be able to judge whether the information you have is important or not. Remember, no piece of information is considered too small or insignificant.

 

If you come across a package, bag or item that you feel could be dangerous follow these steps.

 

Step 1.  

DO NOT touch the item or disturb it in anyway.

 

Step 2.

Contact the police via 999 or the hotline above.

 

Step 3.

Move yourself and others away from the item in a calm and safe manner.

 

Step 4.

Once clear of the immediate area await the police response and be observant to suspicious people or activity.

 

Step 5.

Be prepared to provide any information to officers as even insignificant details may prove useful.

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Terrorist firearm/knife attack UK

Terrorist Firearms and Weapons Attacks-UK


Firearms and Weapons attacks are rare in the UK, however it pays to be prepared! Remember these steps and be sure to tell your family and friends about them also.

 

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RUN
Escape if you can
Consider the safest options
Is there a safe route? RUN if not HIDE
Can you get there without exposing yourself to greater danger?
Insist others leave with you
Leave belongings behind


HIDE
If you can’t RUN, HIDE
Find cover from gunfire
If you can see the attacker, they may be able to see you
Cover from view does not mean you are safe, bullets go through glass, brick, wood and metal
Find cover from gunfire e.g. substantial brickwork / heavy reinforced walls
Be aware of your exits
Try not to get trapped
Be quiet, silence your phone
Lock / barricade yourself in
Move away from the door

 

TELL
Call 999
Location – Where are the suspects?
Direction – Where did you last see the suspects?
Descriptions – Describe the attacker, numbers, features, clothing, weapons etc.
Further information – Casualties, type of injury, building information, entrances, exits, hostages etc.
Stop other people entering the building if it is safe to do so


ARMED POLICE RESPONSE
Follow officers instructions!
Remain calm
Can you move to a safer area?
Avoid sudden movements that may be considered a threat
Keep your hands in view

OFFICERS MAY
Point guns at you
Treat you firmly
Question you
Be unable to distinguish you from the attacker
Officers will evacuate you when it is safe to do so

Remember these steps and stay safe.

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Flooding

Flooding

Flooding can endanger life and property so it is vital that you know the risks and what can be done to prepare for the dangers that you can be presented with.

Useful contact number:
UK 24hr flood helpline 0345 988 1188

Useful websites:
Flood infomation service https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/
Environment agency http://apps.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood/31618.aspx



Action plan (step by step)

Step 1.
Are you at risk? Check your area by entering your location into the above websites or calling the number. Contact elderly or infirm neighbours and family to warn them of potential danger.

Step 2.
Make a written plan of how you’ll respond to a flood. Include: provisions for pets and livestock, securing important documents, a plan to move furniture and an evacuation plan.

Step 3.
Improve your property’s flood protection. Improve drainage, install flood walls and stock sandbags ready for flooding.  

Step 4.
Get suitable insurance cover. Protect your financial interests.

Step 5.
Get help during the flood. Contact floodline, the emergency services or council for information. act as a community, help your neighbours fill sandbags and move furniture once your interests are taken care of.

Step 6.
Get help after the flood. Seek medical help if needed and contact your council for skips or extra rubbish collections.




 

Do                                                                        Dont

• Raise furniture, electrical appliances on beds and tables • Don’t enter flood waters. If you need to enter, then wear suitable footwear
• Put sandbags in the toilet bowl and cover all drainholes to prevent sewage back flow. • Don’t walk through moving water. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you
• Use bleaching powder and lime to disinfect the surroundings • Don’t get near the electric poles and fallen

power-lines to avoid electrocution

• Drink boiled water or use chlorine tablets to purify water before drinking as advised by Health Department • Don’t leave the safe shelter until the local

officials declare normalcy

• After the flood recedes, watch out for broken electric poles, damaged bridges, broken glass, sharp objects and debris • Don’t let children remain on empty stomach
• Keep your mobile phones charged • Don’t allow children to play in or near flood

waters

• Listen to radio or watch television for the latest weather bulletin and flood warnings • Don’t use any damaged electric goods, get it checked by an electrician before using
• Keep strong ropes, a lantern, battery operated torches, extra batteries ready • Don’t use the toilet or tap water if the water lines or sewage pipes are damaged
• Keep the First Aid Kit Ready with extra medication • Don’t drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.
• Stay in touch with local officials. Follow instructions when asked to evacuate • Don’t eat food which has been in flood waters
• If you are being evacuated: pack some clothing, essential medication, valuables, important documents in water proof bags to be taken to the safe shelter; and turn off power and gas connection before leaving the house
• Keep cattle/animals untied to ensure their safety
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Lyme disease Factsheet

Lyme disease, or Lyme borreliosis, is a bacterial infection spread to humans by infected ticks.

Ticks are tiny spider-like creatures found in woodland and heath areas. They feed on the blood of birds and mammals, including humans. Ticks that carry the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease are found throughout the UK and in other parts of Europe and North America.

It’s estimated there are 2,000 to 3,000 new cases of Lyme disease in England and Wales each year. About 15% of cases occur while people are abroad.

Lyme disease can often be treated effectively if it’s detected early on. But if it’s not treated or treatment is delayed, there’s a risk you could develop severe and long-lasting symptoms.

 

Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease

Early symptoms

Many people with early-stage Lyme disease develop a distinctive circular rash at the site of the tick bite, usually around three to 30 days after being bitten. This is known as erythema migrans.

The rash is often described as looking like a bull’s-eye on a dart board. The affected area of skin will be red and the edges may feel slightly raised.

The size of the rash can vary significantly and it may expand over several days or weeks. Typically it’s around 15cm (6 inches) across, but it can be much larger or smaller than this. Some people may develop several rashes in different parts of their body.

However, around one in three people with Lyme disease won’t develop this rash.

Some people with Lyme disease also experience flu-like symptoms in the early stages, such as tiredness (fatigue), muscle pain, joint pain,headaches, a high temperature (fever), chills and neck stiffness.

Later symptoms

More serious symptoms may develop several weeks, months or even years later if Lyme disease is left untreated or is not treated early on. These can include:

  • pain and swelling in the joints (inflammatory arthritis)
  • problems affecting the nervous system – such as numbness and pain in your limbs, paralysis of your facial muscles, memory problems and difficulty concentrating
  • heart problems – such as inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) or sac surrounding the heart (pericarditis), heart block and heart failure
  • inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) – which can cause a severe headache, a stiff neck and increased sensitivity to light

Some of these problems will get better slowly with treatment, although they can persist if treatment is started late.

A few people with Lyme disease go on to develop long-term symptoms similar to those of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. This is known as post-infectious Lyme disease. It’s not clear exactly why this happens, but it’s likely to be related to overactivity of your immune system rather than persistent infection.

When to see your GP

You should see your GP if you develop any of the symptoms described above after being bitten by a tick, or if you think you may have been bitten. Make sure you let your GP know if you’ve spent time in woodland or heath areas where ticks are known to live.

Diagnosing Lyme disease is often difficult as many of the symptoms are similar to other conditions. A spreading rash some days after a known tick bite should be treated with appropriate antibiotics without waiting for the results of a blood test.

Blood tests can be carried out to confirm the diagnosis after a few weeks, but these can be negative in the early stages of the infection. You may need to be re-tested if Lyme disease is still suspected after a negative test result.

In the UK, two types of blood test are used to ensure Lyme disease is diagnosed accurately. This is because a single blood test can sometimes produce a positive result even when a person doesn’t have the infection.

If you have post-infectious Lyme disease or long-lasting symptoms, you may see a specialist in microbiology or infectious diseases. They can arrange for blood samples to be sent to the national reference laboratory run by Public Health England (PHE), where further tests for other tick-borne infections can be carried out.

How you get Lyme disease

If a tick bites an animal carrying the bacteria that cause Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), the tick can also become infected. The tick can then transfer the bacteria to a human by biting them.

Ticks can be found in any areas with deep or overgrown vegetation where they have access to animals to feed on.

They’re common in woodland and heath areas, but can also be found in gardens or parks.

Ticks don’t jump or fly, but climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something they’re on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood.

Generally, you’re more likely to become infected if the tick remains attached to your skin for more than 24 hours. But ticks are very small and their bites are not painful, so you may not realise you have one attached to your skin.

Who’s at risk and where are ticks found?

People who spend time in woodland or heath areas in the UK and parts of Europe or North America are most at risk of developing Lyme disease.

Most tick bites happen in late spring, early summer and autumn because these are the times of year when most people take part in outdoor activities, such as hiking and camping.

Cases of Lyme disease have been reported throughout the UK, but areas known to have a particularly high population of ticks include:

  • Exmoor
  • the New Forest and other rural areas of Hampshire
  • the South Downs
  • parts of Wiltshire and Berkshire
  • parts of Surrey and West Sussex
  • Thetford Forest in Norfolk
  • the Lake District
  • the North York Moors
  • the Scottish Highlands

It’s thought only a small proportion of ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, so being bitten doesn’t mean you’ll definitely be infected. However, it’s important to be aware of the risk and seek medical advice if you start to feel unwell.

Treating Lyme disease

If you develop symptoms of Lyme disease, you will normally be given a course of antibiotic tablets, capsules or liquid. Most people will require a two- to four-week course, depending on the stage of the condition.

If you are prescribed antibiotics, it’s important you finish the course even if you are feeling better, because this will help ensure all the bacteria are killed.

If your symptoms are particularly severe, you may be referred to a specialist to have antibiotic injections (intravenous antibiotics).

Some of the antibiotics used to treat Lyme disease can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. In these cases, you should avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and not use sunbeds until after you have finished the treatment.

There’s currently no clear consensus on the best treatment for post-infectious Lyme disease because the underlying cause is not yet clear. Be wary of internet sites offering alternative diagnostic tests and treatments that may not be supported by scientific evidence.

Preventing Lyme disease

There is currently no vaccine available to prevent Lyme disease. The best way to prevent the condition is to be aware of the risks when you visit areas where ticks are found and to take sensible precautions.

You can reduce the risk of infection by:

  • keeping to footpaths and avoiding long grass when out walking
  • wearing appropriate clothing in tick-infested areas (a long-sleeved shirt and trousers tucked into your socks)
  • wearing light-coloured fabrics that may help you spot a tick on your clothes
  • using insect repellent on exposed skin
  • inspecting your skin for ticks, particularly at the end of the day, including your head, neck and skin folds (armpits, groin, and waistband) – remove any ticks you find promptly
  • checking your children’s head and neck areas, including their scalp
  • making sure ticks are not brought home on your clothes
  • checking that pets do not bring ticks into your home in their fur

How to remove a tick

If you find a tick on your or your child’s skin, remove it by gently gripping it as close to the skin as possible, preferably using fine-toothed tweezers. Pull steadily away from the skin without twisting or crushing the tick.

Wash your skin with water and soap afterwards, and apply an antiseptic cream to the skin around the bite.

Don’t use a lit cigarette end, a match head or substances such as alcohol or petroleum jelly to force the tick out.

Some veterinary surgeries and pet shops sell inexpensive tick removal devices, which may be useful if you frequently spend time in areas where there are ticks.

“Chronic Lyme disease”

There has recently been a lot of focus on Lyme disease in the media, with much attention on people who’ve been diagnosed with “chronic Lyme disease”.

This term has been used by some people to describe persistent symptoms such as tiredness, aches and pains, usually in the absence of a confirmed Lyme disease infection. It’s different to “post-infectious Lyme disease” (see above), which is used to describe persistent symptoms after a confirmed and treated infection.

It’s important to be aware that a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease is controversial. Experts do not agree on whether the condition exists, or whether the symptoms are actually caused by a different, undiagnosed problem.

In either case, there’s no evidence to suggest people diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease can pass the condition on to others, and there’s little clear evidence about how best to treat it.

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Home fire safety tips

Fire…it has both fascinated and scared man since the dawn of time!

Fire first allowlondon-rioted people to scare off predators,  cook meat, forge tools and light the night. However soon after man discovered how to make it I’m sure he burnt himself or his entire village down!

Fire can be just as dangerous today as it was then, with houses packed together and a seemingly infinite amount of flammable materials around modern homes should a major disastrous event happen locally or country wide, chaos is likely to ensue!

Looters destroying evidence of their wrongdoing, electrical malfunctions, vermin chewing through cables and unattended cooking fires…these are just some of the many events that can cause a catastrophic fire. But remember it doesn’t take the end of the world to cause a fire!!

A few small steps could safeguard your family and home!

Firstly regular inspections of your electrical goods, check to see if your plugs are overloaded and check cables for wear.

A simple but often overlooked thing is to check your smoke alarms monthly and replace the battery every year!

Next place at least one fire extinguisher on each level of your home, Ideally have one in your kitchen to nip problems in the bud quickly.

Clearing rubbish, junk and vegetation from inside and outside your home prevents fire from having the fuel it craves, and without fuel there can be no fire.

Finally you need a plan! Get everyone in the household together and work out a plan to get everyone to safety, not forgetting the pets if safe to do so! Think about escape routes, fighting the fire and safe zones.

These small steps could save your life! Take a couple of hours after reading this  to review your homes fire safety. Stay safe and stay cool!

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