Checking for ticks is easy
What are ticks?
Ticks are small creatures that look a bit like spiders and live in the countryside. Young ticks can be as small as a poppy seed, older ticks look like a tiny spider.
Ticks feed on other animals – usually deer and sheep. Sometimes they feed on us too! They are most active between March and October, which is when we need to be more tick-aware.
Why can ticks be a problem?
Some ticks carry disease and can sometimes pass on disease to humans, including Lyme disease. Removing ticks quickly and safely greatly reduces any risk of illness.
Where do they live?
They are often found in and near areas with trees, shrubs, tall grass or piles of leaves. Some tick bites can cause serious health issues if untreated, but you can take action to reduce your risk.
How do I know if I’ve been bitten?
Tick bites are usually painless, so the best way to tell you’ve been bitten is to see a tick on your skin.
What should I do if I’m bitten?
Remove the tick as soon as you can, to reduce the risk of getting ill
Use clean fine-point tweezers to immediately remove attached ticks:
- grasp the tick's head as close to your skin as possible.
- slowly pull it straight out. Try not to twist or squeeze the tick.
- if parts of the tick's mouth break off and remain in your skin, remove them with the tweezers.
- if you can't remove the mouthparts, leave them alone, and let your skin heal.
- wash the bite area with soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizer.
- contact your health care provider if you're not feeling well or if you are concerned after being bitten by a tick.
Look out for symptoms of illness
The identification of Lyme disease in its early stages is very important and can be treated effectively with antibiotics.
Symptoms to look out for can include any of the following:
- aching muscles and joints
- swollen glands in your neck
What can I do to keep safe?
The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid being bitten by a tick. Follow these seven tips when you are heading outside in the countryside this summer:
- wear light coloured long-sleeved shirts and trousers
- tuck your shirt into your trousers, and your trousers into your socks
- wear closed-toe shoes
- use bug spray (always follow label directions).
- walk on cleared paths or walkways, try to avoid over grown paths
- shower or bathe as soon as possible after being outdoors
- do a daily full body tick check on yourself, your children, your pets and any items you took with you.
Pets and Lyme disease
Pets can also catch Lyme disease and can carry infected ticks into your home. Regular tick checks and prompt tick removal are just as important for pets as for people.
Advice and information
Tips and tricks to stay safe from ticks on the GOV.UK website
Lyme disease: resources and guidance on the GOV.UK website
Tick awareness and the Tick Surveillance Scheme on the GOV.UK website