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Advice on ticks and Lyme Disease

Please be aware of ticks when visiting our green spaces.

Ticks are small, blood-sucking mites which normally live in bracken, long grass and woodlands. They generally feed on wild animals, but may also attach themselves to humans and dogs.

Ticks are at their most active between May and September.

Ticks can carry a bacterium which causes Lyme Disease, though this is uncommon.

Avoiding ticks

In order to minimise the risk of ticks, we recommend following these guidelines:

  • prevent ticks biting by using insect repellents such as DEET or permethrin-based products
  • wear light coloured clothing to enable detection of ticks before they bite
  • wear long-sleeved clothes and trousers
  • wear shoes or boots instead of sandals
  • examine yourself, children and pets at the end of a day out; remember, ticks are small and hard to see 
  • protect dogs with insect repellent or a tick collar

Removing ticks

If you find a tick has bitten you and latched on, try to remove it as soon as possible to minimise the risk of potential infection. Infection is highly unlikely if the tick is removed within 24 hours.

Do not use heat, chemicals or lotion to loosen a tick before removing it. This is not thought to be effective, and can increase the risk of infection.

To remove a tick:

  • pinch the tick as close to the skin as possible
  • take care not to squeeze the tick's body
  • pull the tick out slowly but firmly, with a twisting motion
  • clean and disinfect the bite and wash your hands

Removing a tick is easiest with a tick removal tool, but you can also use fine tweezers - or your fingernails if nothing else is available.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Symptoms of Lyme Disease can develop days or weeks after infection. It first presents as a distinctive pink rash resembling a bullseye. The rash is neither raised nor itchy and will slowly expand in size until its to up to 60cm across. This may be accompanied by flu-like symptoms and other, more serious symptoms can develop if the disease is left untreated. 

We recommend seeking medical attention if you think you might have Lyme Disease.

See the NHS Lyme Disease page for comprehensive details on the disease.

Published:
30 August 2017
Last Modified:
21 August 2018

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