It’s Tick prevention week here in the UK, and the consequences of being bitten and getting Lymes disease are serious. Even if you think you know everything you can do to prevent and remove a tick, do yourself a favour and read up again about what you can do here
It’s estimated that up to 3000 people a year get Lymes disease, and in rare cases, the effects can be serious. Lyme disease is transmitted via the bite of an infected tick and can lead to serious complications including damage to the nervous system, joints, heart and other tissues.
Key things you can do to look after yourself;
1. Know where to expect ticks. Many areas in the UK with good ground cover and diverse wildlife (such as squirrels, hedgehogs, birds and deer) can pose a potential risk as wildlife feeds any ticks and allows their population to increase. Animals also transport ticks to new areas.
2. Use a repellent, reading the instructions carefully. There is currently no vaccine to defend against Lyme disease so prevention is key.
3. Carry a tick remover. By having a tick remover (and antiseptic wipes) with you, any attached ticks can be removed sooner, lessening the chance of disease transmission.
4. Tuck your trouser legs into your socks. This helps to deter ticks from crawling inside your trouser legs, down into shoes and through most socks. Wearing gaiters will also help to prevent this. Light-coloured clothing makes it easier to see ticks on it.
5. Take a walking stick with you. Where you can’t keep to the centre of paths to avoid ticks on overhanging vegetation, you can use a stick to tap the vegetation ahead of you, knocking off any waiting ticks.
6. Check your body carefully for ticks after being outdoors, taking special care to check all over the body.
7. Don’t bring ticks home. Check clothing and pets for ticks to avoid bringing them inside.
8. Carefully remove ticks. Use a specialist tick-removal tool or fine-tipped tweezers. See the tick removal section for full instructions.
9. Protect your pets. Talk to your vet about tick treatments.
10. Be a ‘Tick Buddy’. You can help your companions by checking for ticks in places they can’t see, such as the back of the head and behind their ears.