Be tick aware

Although ticks are active throughout the year, you are most likely to come across them between spring and autumn. Ticks don’t fly or jump, but can climb or drop on to you when you brush past the area they are sitting in.

If you are bitten by a tick infected with Lyme causing bacteria, you can reduce the chances of the bacteria being transmitted by removing the tick quickly. A common early sign of Lyme disease is a circular rash that can look like a bulls-eye and is present in most but not all cases of Lyme disease.

Take simple steps to avoid coming into contact with ticks such as walking on clearly defined paths, avoiding dense vegetation, wear light coloured clothing so ticks can be easily spotted and brushed off, or use a repellent such as DEET.

If you have been bitten by a tick:

  • Remove the tick as soon as possible. The safest way to remove a tick is to use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers or a tick removal tool.
  • Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull upwards slowly and firmly, as mouthparts left in the skin can cause a local infection.
  • Once removed, apply antiseptic to the bite area, or wash with soap and water and keep an eye on it for several weeks for any changes.

Tick bites may not hurt and you don’t always notice you’ve been bitten, so make sure you thoroughly check yourself, your children and your pets. Young children are more commonly bitten on the head so carefully check around their neck, behind the ears and along the hairline.

Seek advice from your GP or dial NHS 111 if you feel unwell after being bitten by a tick, even when you don’t have a rash. Remember to tell them you were bitten by a tick or have recently spent time outdoors.

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