The local municipality has decided to fund a programme to raise public awareness of the dangers of ticks and Lyme Disease.
My advice is to always wear a DEET based insecticide, either on the skin or on clothing, if you are hiking or working in the field here between March and October. Check yourself for ticks when you shower and remove any embedded ones by pincering them with tweezers as close to the skin as possible. Pull them straight out, working quickly so the tick doesn't have a chance to inject you with internal fluids. (The other reason to smother yourself in DEET from June onwards is to repel chiggers, which are the bane of gardeners' lives here.)
The two most common species of tick in the Loire Valley -- Left, Castor Bean Tick Ixodes ricinus (Fr. Tique du mouton) and two Ornate Cow Tick Dermacentor reticulatus, right. These are all engorged females that were taken off a dog in April.
The 'y' shaped tick removers available in pharmacies and veterinary surgeries are no longer recommended as best practice, but better than smothering the tick with oil or other substances, which is definitely not recommended.
Get yourself to A+E if you experience any symptoms at all (redness, especially but not necessarily the classic halo, itchness, anything else out of the ordinary) within two days of being bitten. The longer you leave it the less effective treatment will be, and you really don't want chronique Lyme Disease -- especially in France where it is not officially recognised as a thing.
If you get an unexplained rash or bruise, think about the possibility of Lyme Disease. Many people never notice the infected tick that gives them the disease, and their first hint is a rash and/or flu like symptoms.
Read this reputable health website for more details about how to identify and treat the disease. Incidences of Lyme Disease in France have tripled in the last 10 years and the government is increasingly worried about the health impacts so for the past couple of years has been conducting research and awareness campaigns.
For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.