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Beware of the dangers of blood sucking ticks this summer

3 minute read
Beware of the dangers of blood sucking ticks this summer

Published at 6:48pm 12th August 2019. (Updated at 10:17am 13th August 2019)

People are being urged to protect themselves and their pets from the risks posed by ticks this summer as we spend more time in parks, gardens, and the countryside.

The recent mild weather creates perfect conditions for ticks to thrive.

The tiny insects which feed off the blood of animals and humans can transmit bacteria such as Lyme Disease.

Hampshire County Council is offering some tips and advice.  Councillor Judith Grajewski, Executive Member for Public Health at the Local Authority, said: 

"Ticks thrive in summer, particularly in the kind humid conditions that we've been experiencing, so be sure to cover your limbs if you are out walking in wooded areas or long grass where they wait to attach themselves to passers-by. 

"Don't forget to check pets too."

Keeping to footpaths and avoiding long grass when out walking is the best way to avoid being bitten by ticks. 

Other advice to people walking in areas known to have a high tick population is to: 

  • Wear appropriate clothing (a long-sleeve shirt and trousers tucked into your socks) 
  • Use an insect repellent 
  • Wear light coloured fabrics that may help you spot a tick on your clothes 
  • Inspect your skin for ticks, particularly at the end of the day, including your head, neck and skin folds (armpits, groin and waist) 
  • Check your children's head and neck areas, including their scalp
  • Check that pets do not bring ticks into your home in their fur 

If you do get bitten by a tick, removing it quickly and correctly can help to reduce any potential risk. 

The only safe way to remove a tick is to use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers, or an easy-to-use device which can be purchased from pharmacies or vets. Then:

  • Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull upwards slowly and firmly, as mouthparts left in the skin can cause a local infection 
  • Once removed, apply antiseptic to the bite area and keep an eye on it for several weeks for any changes 
  • Contact your GP if you begin to feel unwell or develop a circular red skin rash, often described as a bull's-eye rash, and remember to tell them that you were bitten by a tick 

See Public Health England's tick aware leaflet for advice on ticks or visit NHS Choices for more information on signs, symptoms and treatments for Lyme disease. 

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