Take precautions when you're out and about
Ticks are small arachnids which feed off the blood of birds and mammals, including pets and people. Ticks are widespread across the UK and can be found in both urban settings and the countryside where there is long grass, rough vegetation and woodland.
Numbers vary dramatically during the year and also due to changing weather conditions. They are most active during warm, damp weather.
Simple steps to avoid coming into contact with ticks:
- Wear long trousers
- Stick to clearly defined paths
- Avoid brushing against or walking through long grass and vegetation
- Wear light-coloured clothing so ticks are easier to spot and brush off
Whilst not all ticks have the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease, they are still an unwelcome guest and should be carefully removed with a special tick removal tool or fine tipped tweezers, which can be obtained from most chemists, vets or pet shops.
Take care when removing a tick. It is important not to crush, smother or burn it, as this may cause the tick to regurgitate its infected stomach contents into the wound. Do not try an pull off a tick with your fingers, as this may cause the head and/or mouthparts to stay embedded in your skin.
Some ticks carry bacteria which causes lyme disease. Similar to the symptoms of influenza, people with lyme disease may experience flu-like symptoms such as a temperature, head-aches, muscle or joint pain and tiredness or loss of energy. Another sign is a bullseye rash pattern on the skin (usually centred around the bite), but this is not always present. If you develop these symptoms after being bitten by a tick, contact you GP.
- Please visit NHS Choices website for more details.
- More information about ticks and associated diseases is available from Lyme Disease Action
Enjoy the countryside, but try to remember to be tick aware!