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Ticks and Shorts

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Hi. I am about to set off on the Primitivo/Finesterre routes later in July. ( COVID permitting).
So far, on my many caminoes, I have worn shorts, rain, cold or shine. For some reason, I don't know why, I am suddenly pre occupied with the worry of getting ticks...are these likely to be an issue during late summer? Should I wear long pants? I hate hiking in long pants....
Thanks for your collective wisdom!
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
A few times
I've never heard of anyone getting ticks on the Camino. Ticks live in the underbrush and tall grass. They hang out until an animal or human animal passes by and they hitch a ride and burrow in. Unless you get off the path or road I don't think you'll run into a tick.
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
I've never heard of anyone getting ticks on the Camino. Ticks live in the underbrush and tall grass. They hang out until an animal or human animal passes by and they hitch a ride and burrow in. Unless you get off the path or road I don't think you'll run into a tick.
We walked through grass on the Salvador and my friend ended up with about 5 ticks all over her body. I managed to get them all out. Aside from that, I found about 3 or 4 crawling on me whilst walking in Germany. One just started to embed and I got it out just in time.
Apart from that, I walked multiple routes in Spain, Portugal, France, Switzerland and never had a tick on me...
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
For some reason, I don't know why, I am suddenly pre occupied with the worry of getting ticks...are these likely to be an issue during late summer? Should I wear long pants? I hate hiking in long pants....
Thanks for your collective wisdom!
That's an old thread but there IS lyme disease in Spain, so it makes sense to be vigilant.
I walk in a skirt, and picked up a tick on the Vasco in 2019. How many ticks are out there in any given year will depend on the weather, so up to date reports are worth seeking out.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
We walked through grass on the Salvador and my friend ended up with about 5 ticks all over her body. I managed to get them all out.
On my longest day on the Salvador from Poladura to Campomanes I read something on this forum about ticks, but I was too exhausted to try to find a mirror to perform a whole body check. Fortunately, I seem to have been spared. 😌
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Never seen a tick on any of my walks.
Since the Salvador isn't very well traveled there are lots of places where you walk through a narrow overgrown path. I used my poles to clear the way ahead of me. In the back of my mind were the warnings about ticks. Quite different from the Francés, Norte, Portuguese, etc.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I've also not walked any routes in Spain or France where I've been concerned about ticks but I suppose routes that have been idle for a while may have become overgrown and hence a possible site (thinking of a recent thread about overgrown paths on the VdlP). Ticks are a problem around us here (suburban Sydney). We use an engine starter aerosol spray ("Aerostart") - it freezes them and they drop off. Wart freeze does the same thing but I'm wary because of the possibility of burning the surrounding skin. For a dozen nymph ticks on a grandchild I used a permethrin cream ("Lyclear", made to get rid of scabies). It worked. If you are paranoid about getting ticks perhaps a small tube in your pack?
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Kia Ora, amiga!
I have had ticks twice, in Asturias, but that was on springtime, I have the feeling late summer might not be their best season, when they try to hook on a host for feeding.

I feel confident with shorts, you want to be careful where you sit, because they can attach to your lower back or to your backpack and then onto you.
Buen camino!!!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
you want to be careful where you sit, because they can attach to your lower back or to your backpack and then onto you.
Good point. The same especially applies to where you might need to squat. ;)

Check your legs and waistband area front and back when you've been sitting, squatting, lounging, before you put your pack on again. And check the pack too. I picked up my tick on grass that had been mowed, but was getting a bit long.
 
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David

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2005
It isn't just a tick attaching and how to remove it. They can carry diseases.
I was tick bit on the Meseta. Had stopped where some other pilgrims were by a small copse of trees. Short grass. I lay down on my back, my loose shirt rode up, felt something on my lower back, sat up and brushed it off ... I developed the Lyme's disease pinky-red rosette around the entry point - had caught Lyme's .... so I now know that they don't even need to fully attach to you to transfer Lyme's disease, so take care.

As for long trousers - I don't like them either but concern should be where your body brushes grass, long or short, as that is where they transfer - maybe gaiters to put on in those sections?
Or Kanga's answer - which is basically live without fear but carry a tube of something with you?
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
I've also not walked any routes in Spain or France where I've been concerned about ticks but I suppose routes that have been idle for a while may have become overgrown and hence a possible site (thinking of a recent thread about overgrown paths on the VdlP). Ticks are a problem around us here (suburban Sydney). We use an engine starter aerosol spray ("Aerostart") - it freezes them and they drop off. Wart freeze does the same thing but I'm wary because of the possibility of burning the surrounding skin. For a dozen nymph ticks on a grandchild I used a permethrin cream ("Lyclear", made to get rid of scabies). It worked. If you are paranoid about getting ticks perhaps a small tube in your pack?
That is very interesting info, thank you!
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
It isn't just a tick attaching and how to remove it. They can carry diseases.
I was tick bit on the Meseta. Had stopped where some other pilgrims were by a small copse of trees. Short grass. I lay down on my back, my loose shirt rode up, felt something on my lower back, sat up and brushed it off ... I developed the Lyme's disease pinky-red rosette around the entry point - had caught Lyme's .... so I now know that they don't even need to fully attach to you to transfer Lyme's disease, so take care.

As for long trousers - I don't like them either but concern should be where your body brushes grass, long or short, as that is where they transfer - maybe gaiters to put on in those sections?
Or Kanga's answer - which is basically live without fear but carry a tube of something with you?
Interesting! I never lie or sit down on grass for that reason, even though I would love to. In Germany people get vaccinated, but it is a drawn out process, as you need several shots.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
I got five ticks in one day four days ago on the Geira, and Wendy got four across two days. We removed them and bought and started using tick repellent and haven’t seen any since.

Wendy walks in leggings that go just below the knee. I was walking in zip-off shorts that day because it was rainy and my rain gear doesn’t cover below my knees. I was also walking in flip-flops (long story). Two of the ticks were around my ankles but three of them were above my knees.
 
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gittiharre

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
I got five ticks in one day four days ago on the Geira, and Wendy got four across two days. We removed them and bought and started using tick repellent and haven’t seen any since.

Wendy walks in leggings that go just below the knee. I was walking in zip-off shorts that day because it was rainy and my rain gear doesn’t cover below my knees. I was also walking in flip-flops (long story). Two of the ticks were around my ankles but three of them were above my knees.
Wow! I will take tick repellent for sure.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I got five ticks in one day four days ago on the Geira, and Wendy got four across two days. We removed them and bought and started using tick repellent and haven’t seen any since.

Wendy walks in leggings that go just below the knee. I was walking in zip-off shorts that day because it was rainy and my rain gear doesn’t cover below my knees. I was also walking in flip-flops (long story). Two of the ticks were around my ankles but three of them were above my knees.
Can you please share any info you have about the repellent you used. Thanks
 
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Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Year of past OR future Camino
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
Nice to hear, few ticks atre on the loose on the caminos.

At your own home, under shading trees and in tall, lush grass, they can be a local menace

Remembered this video on the perfect tick hunter:

 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
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jsalt

Jill
Year of past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
I picked up some ticks on the Rota Vicenta when I stepped off the track for a wizzy. The pharmacist next day gave me a tick remover (for future occurrences – I still have it in my first aid kit), and some ointment. Lesson learned: stay on the track!
 

Yoyo

✿ Se hace el camino al andar. ✿
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Ticks can carry two diseases: TBE (tick-borne encephalitis) and Lyme borreliosis.
Only for TBE there is a vaccine.
I got my three TBE shots last year (southern Germany being a high-risk area). And I had ticks twice last summer, both times on the inside of my lower leg, just below the knee. I had walked in long trousers, so they don't seem to offer much protection. Once the ticks got onto my shoes they just crawled up my leg. And I wasn't even walking through particularly high grass.
I pulled them out carefully with tweezers and then disinfected the area. It is important not to squash the tick while removing it because that could contaminate the bite wound with the bacteria and virus the ticks might be carrying. And it is important to remove them as soon as possible as the risk of infection increases over the course of various hours. So it is a good practice to check your body after possible exposure.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Ticks can carry two diseases: TBE (tick-borne encephalitis) and Lyme borreliosis.
Ticks can also cause Alpha-gal syndrome, which causes an allergic reaction to the consumption of mammalian meat. I met a young woman who had this syndrome in Melide in 2019 at Pulpería Ezequiel happily feasting on pulpo.

 
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Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
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Sixwheeler

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2013
Plenty of excellent advice here. I too like to wear shorts and always carry on of those little plastic tick removal tools which the dig and I have both used in the past. Don't use tweezers or you may leave the jaws in and whatmy daughter once witnessed, mediating one out of my leg with a Swiss Army Knife isn't a great idea either. Good Luck.
 

Yoyo

✿ Se hace el camino al andar. ✿
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Ticks can also cause Alpha-gal syndrome, which causes an allergic reaction to the consumption of mammalian meat. I met a young woman who had this syndrome in Melide in 2019 at Pulpería Ezequiel happily feasting on pulpo.

I had never heard about this, @trecile . Thank you for that information.
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Ticks can also cause Alpha-gal syndrome, which causes an allergic reaction to the consumption of mammalian meat. I met a young woman who had this syndrome in Melide in 2019 at Pulpería Ezequiel happily feasting on pulpo.

Omg! The mind boggles at the non covid risks we lived with for years without second thoughts.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
May and June 2017
Hi. I am about to set off on the Primitivo/Finesterre routes later in July. ( COVID permitting).
So far, on my many caminoes, I have worn shorts, rain, cold or shine. For some reason, I don't know why, I am suddenly pre occupied with the worry of getting ticks...are these likely to be an issue during late summer? Should I wear long pants? I hate hiking in long pants....
Thanks for your collective wisdom!
We walked part of the VF in summer (2019) and my husband picked up a tick in Tuscany. I packed tweezers, just in case and easily extracted the tick. After finding the beastie on him, we paid a bit more attention on the next few days as we walked and could see them hanging out on the long grass beside the track. It didn't take long for us both to forget about them and simply enjoy walking. Be prepared, but don't worry too much about them...take tweezers and check out your skin for passengers when you're brushing against grass etc. Enjoy your trip!
 
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Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Year of past OR future Camino
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
I like this - so, if I can train a couple of Guinea fowl to walk ahead of me I am sorted? Protected? I like that! ;)
Just send the fowls ( collective noun is a Confusion of Guinea fowl, understandably ) ahead at a day´s distance,
- Collect when you reach the destination and send by JacoTrans another day ahead.
So by applying 2 groups, you will be fine.......
 
Last edited:
Year of past OR future Camino
Norte (2017-18)
Portugues (2015)
Frances (2014)
Ticks can also cause Alpha-gal syndrome, which causes an allergic reaction to the consumption of mammalian meat. I met a young woman who had this syndrome in Melide in 2019 at Pulpería Ezequiel happily feasting on pulpo.

I thought that was connected mostly with the Lone Star variety of ticks...do these even live in Europe?
 

TerryB

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
I don't want to "advertise" a brand but these are the kind of thing to pack.
Just pulling a tick out can leave the mouth parts behind causing later problems. They have a barbed proboscis so twisting breaks the barbs. Bare legs are fine until one 'goes bush' for privacy or sits or lies down for a snack / rest! Walking through long grass or bracken can cause problems - open tracks and paths on the Primitivo or other Caminos are fine.
Go and enjoy!
Tio Tel
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2017
I carry this aluminum tick remover with me. Found it in a Canadian outdoors store years ago, though it’s a US product (“UST Tick Wrangler”). The gradations let you measure the withdrawn tick so that you can report it to health authorities accurately. Works best on legs and open spots. Not so great behind knees and ears. 316204A8-5F35-448F-83F8-16DED3700404.jpeg
 
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gittiharre

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
I don't want to "advertise" a brand but these are the kind of thing to pack.
Just pulling a tick out can leave the mouth parts behind causing later problems. They have a barbed proboscis so twisting breaks the barbs. Bare legs are fine until one 'goes bush' for privacy or sits or lies down for a snack / rest! Walking through long grass or bracken can cause problems - open tracks and paths on the Primitivo or other Caminos are fine.
Go and enjoy!
Tio Tel
Bought these, when I was walking the Le Puy Route.
Luckily have not had to use them as yet, since then, over the years before that, I just caught a few little beasties before they got properly stuck in...do check daily.
 
Last edited:

DaveA

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2030
I like to go hiking in the Schwarzwald where ticks are a problem. Before a trip, I treat all my hiking clothes (including fabric boots) with Permethrin. Each day, I treat my arms and legs with DEET. This seems to works as I have not experienced any tick problems.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I haven't walked La Puy Route but I have never seen a tick on any of the other routes I've walked. Ever.
I've only walked the four most popular Spain Caminos, but in addition never saw one the Le Puy route either. No matter when I walk again or whichever route, I will start doing tick checks end of day.
 
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malingerer

samarkand
Year of past OR future Camino
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
Just send the fowls ( collective noun is a Confusion of Guinea fowl, understandably ) ahead at a day´s distance,
- Collect when you reach the destination and send by JacoTrans another day ahead.
So by applying 2 groups, you will be fine.......
can you eat them afterwards?

:) :)

Samarkand.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Voie de Vézelay, Podiensis, Arles Route, Voie de Paris/Tours, Frances, Primitivo, La Plata
I’m definitely switching to walking poles and getting rid of my hiking sticks…
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
I picked up some ticks on the Rota Vicenta when I stepped off the track for a wizzy. The pharmacist next day gave me a tick remover (for future occurrences – I still have it in my first aid kit), and some ointment. Lesson learned: stay on the track!

The wife of a good friend of mine picked up a tick in an intimate, and somewhat invisible - at least without a mirror - location. She was out walking with a new-to-her group and had to pee in long bracken thus presenting the target to the tick.

I was out walking elsewhere with her husband and a large all-male climbing club when the incident occurred. She didn’t think any of her companions to be sufficiently close friends that they might assist her in removing the beast and so managed to take a picture of the affected part and send it to my associate, who we might as well call Robin, for that is his name.

He opened the message in my presence and appeared physically shocked. He quickly checked that it wasn’t his birthday or Christmas and then asked those of us present for an opinion as to what the matter might be and then what advice to provide for his (reportedly) distressed wife, who may as well be revealed as Janice.

Opening a video link (the wonders of modern technology) we all introduced ourselves and conveyed our best wishes, and then talked her in on the target, which she removed with a patent tick- remover which a passing dog-walker had produced.

It was an educational afternoon for all concerned. We have had the courtesy to never discuss the incident with Janice once it was resolved.

Back on topic- I’ve never encountered a tick on a Camino in the last 10 years, but I do have a patent plastic hook-shaped tick remover in my sack. Henry the (actual) dog picks up ticks regularly and I’m well- practiced in their removal. I also carry (in the UK) several tabs of doxycycline which is the standard treatment for lyme’s disease and enough to get treatment started whilst a diagnosis is made and a full course prescribed.
 

TinaPEI

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Hopefully sometime....
I saw a tick once. In Zabaldika, a young woman came up to my Camino friend who was a doctor, and asked her to remove the tick. She pulled it out with tweezers and said that you should never twist it out. All the conflicting information is confusing!
 

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