Most ticks are little more than an irritation, but a few can transmit Lyme disease, a rare and potentially serious illness which is treatable with antibiotics if diagnosed early. It is therefore important to be informed and take some simple precautions.

What are ticks?

  • Ticks are tiny, spider-like creatures which feed on the blood of animals.
  • They are found in grassy, heathland and woodland areas throughout the UK.
  • They are most common from April to October but can be active during mild winters.

What can I do to prevent being bitten by a tick?

  • Avoid exposed skin: wear long trousers tucked into socks, and long sleeves.
  • Avoid long and overhanging vegetation and keep to footpaths.
  • Consider using insect repellent.
  • Check your skin and clothing while you are out in the field and again when you return home: ticks bites don’t usually hurt so it is important to check your skin thoroughly.

What should I do if I am bitten by a tick?

  • Ticks should be removed carefully and promptly using a tick remover or tweezers.
  • Don’t squeeze the tick, and don’t cover it with creams or plasters.
  • If you develop a rash around a bite or flu-like symptoms, or if you are concerned in any way, consult a doctor as soon as possible.

For more information, see the NHS page on the subject.