Be tick aware
Ticks are small, spider-like creatures that feed on the blood of animals and people and their bites can cause very serious conditions if left untreated, including Lyme disease.
They can be found throughout the year but are most active between spring and autumn so be careful when walking through fields or woodland.
Damp, shady dense vegetation, dead leaves or long grass provide the perfect habitat, near to deer, small mammals or wild birds.
Ticks don’t jump or fly but climb onto people or animals as they brush past. They bite into the skin to attach themselves and then start feeding on the blood of their new host.
Simple steps to avoid tick bites:
- walk on clearly defined paths
- avoid dense vegetation
- wear light-coloured clothing so ticks are easier to spot and brush off
- use repellents such as DEET
- perform a tick check – make it a habit to check your clothes and body regularly when you’re outdoors and again when you get home.
Signs you’ve been bitten by a tick
Look out for anything as tiny as a freckle or a speck of dirt.
Ticks prefer warm places on the body, especially the groin area, waist, armpits, behind the knee and along hairlines.
Young children are more commonly bitten around the head, so be extra careful to check around the neck, behind the ears and on the scalp.
How to remove a tick
If you have been bitten, remove the tick as soon as possible using a pair of sterilised tweezers and grasping the tick as close to your skin as possible.
Pull upwards slowly and firmly, totally removing as much of the tick as you can.
Apply antiseptic to the bite area and keep an eye on it for several weeks to check for any changes.
Contact your GP or call NHS 111 if you begin to feel unwell and remember to tell them you were bitten by a tick. You can find out more about Lyme disease on the NHS website:
Tick surveillance scheme
Public Health England (PHE) runs a tick surveillance scheme so they can assess the impact of ticks in different parts of the country.
Please report all tick bites to firstname.lastname@example.org and, if possible, send the tick to PHE. There’s more information about how to report tick bites and send samples on their website:
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