When exploring our lovely countryside, it’s useful to keep up to date and informed about potential risks. Now we’re into the warm summer, one to be aware of is how to keep safe from ticks and reduce the possibility of catching Lyme Disease when you’re out and about.
Cause – Ticks infected with this bacterial infection can spread Lyme Disease to people when they bite them. Only a small proportion of ticks carry the bacteria, which results in around 2,500 cases per year in the UK.
- Take extra care in the summer when ticks are most active, in areas with lots of deer or livestock and long grass or bracken.
- Reduce the risk of a bite by covering up, tucking your trousers into your socks in true Monty Python style or using insect repellent.
- Check yourself for ticks especially on your legs & groin. Extract the tick when you find it. To remove a tick use fine-toothed tweezers to gently grip as close to the skin as possible and pull away steadily removing the body and head. Specialist tick removers can be bought at vets. Alternatively placing a blob of liquid soap entirely covering the tick, should make it fall off.
- Check your pets after their walk so they don’t bring in ticks
- Most bites from an infected tick develop into a distinctive raised pink or red ‘bulls eye’ rash after 3 to 30 days. It’s usually around 15cm across, but can vary in size.
- Around a third of people with early stage Lyme Disease don’t develop a rash.
- Further symptoms may develop 3 to 30 days after being bitten by an infected ticks, which can include flu-like symptoms such as: fatigue (tiredness), muscle and joint pain, headaches, fever or neck stiffness. If untreated some people can develop more serious problems affecting the joints, nerves and heart.
Treatment – See your GP if you find the distinctive bull’s eye rash from an infected bite, or develop the later symptoms of the disease.
For more information please chat to a ranger or visit NHS Direct Website.
Acting Senior Ranger Stuart