Why it's important to be aware of ticks in our parks and woodlands. How to avoid tick bites, how to check for tick bites and what to do if you get bitten.
Ticks and Lyme disease
Ticks are small, spider-like creatures that feed on the blood of animals, including people. They mainly attach to animals, but sometimes they may bite you or your family. Most tick bites are harmless but they can sometimes cause human diseases such as Lyme disease (NHS.UK) Go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/lyme-disease/ (opens new window).
You should check yourself for ticks after you've visited a park or woodland and remove any you find.
How to avoid tick bites
You could be exposed to ticks whenever you spend time outdoors, including time spent in our woodlands, estates, nature reserves and meadows. Ticks have been reported at Ashton Court Estate, in the grass fields.
To prevent tick bites;
- walk on clearly defined paths, to avoid brushing against vegetation
- use insect repellent
- perform regular tick checks on yourself, other household members and your pets
Check for ticks
- Check your clothes and body for ticks when outdoors and again when you get back home.
- Check all over, including waist, arm-pits, groin, behind the knee and hairlines.
- Young children are commonly bitten on the head or scalp, so need to be carefully checked around the neck, in and behind the ears and along the hairline.
- Look out for anything as tiny as a freckle or a speck of dirt.
- You could use an app or website to help identify whether it is a tick.
Remove ticks, if you find them
- NHS recommend that you remove a tick Go to http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/lyme-disease/#how-to-spot-and-remove-ticks (opens new window) using a pair of fine-tipped tweezers or a tick removal tool.
- There are apps available online, that can help you to identify ticks.
- Keep the tick. Then you can send it into the tick surveillance scheme or find out about testing.
Get help if you're unwell
- Contact your GP or dial NHS 111 promptly if you begin to feel unwell with flu-like symptoms or develop a spreading circular red rash.
- Remember to tell them that you were bitten by a tick or have recently spent time outdoors.
- If you kept the tick, you could talk to your GP about testing it for bacteria.
Public Health England guidance
Public Health England provide leaflets, advice and guidance on ticks. They also run a tick recording scheme, to monitor the distribution of ticks nationally.