Be tick aware

Be tick aware
sheep tick / Philippe Garcelon

Now summer is here it is a good time to brush up on your knowledge of ticks, where they live and what sensible precautions you can take.

Ticks are small arachnids, which feed off the blood of birds and mammals, including people. They can be found in most parts of the country, usually found in long grass, rough vegetation and woodland. They can also be found in urban parks and dog walking areas too. Ticks are most active from May to October, especially in warm weather.

Unfortunately some ticks carry bacteria which can cause Lyme Disease. The symptoms of Lyme Disease are similar to those of influenza and anyone having flu-like symptoms, head-aches, muscle pain or joint pain, accompanied by a bulls-eye rash pattern on their skin after visiting the countryside, is recommended to talk to their doctor as soon as possible afterwards. Please visit NHS Choices website for more details.

Of course, not all ticks will have the bacteria, although they are still an unwelcome presence on the host and they should be carefully removed with a special tick removal tool, which can be obtained from most vets or pet shops. Don’t forget to check your dog too.

You can take simple steps to avoid coming into contact with ticks, such as:

  • wearing long trousers
  • walking on clearly defined paths, to avoid brushing against vegetation
  • avoiding dense vegetation
  • wearing light-coloured clothing so ticks are easier to spot and brush off

Enjoy the countryside this summer, but try to remember to be tick aware.

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