Lyme disease can be contracted anywhere in the UK but is more common in the South of England and the Scottish Highlands. Only a small minority of ticks in the UK are infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Infection relies on a tick having already bitten an infected animal, and therefore, being bitten by a tick does not necessarily result in Lyme disease. Further information is available at GOV.UK: Lyme Disease resources and guidance.
Ticks are small arachnids that feed on the blood of an animal host. Ticks are most active during warmer months, with woodland, heathland and long grass considered areas of high risk.
A bull's-eye skin rash surrounding the bite area remains a characteristic symptom of Lyme disease. Other symptoms include headaches, muscle and joint pain, a fever, and fatigue.
If symptoms develop, it is important to seek medical attention. For more information about Lyme disease, please visit Lyme disease (NHS website).
Whilst not all ticks are infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, it remains important to be vigilant, and to take necessary precautions.
There are several simple measures that can be taken to reduce the probability of coming into contact with a tick. These measures are as follows:
- Stick to the centre of established paths
- Avoid walking through long grass or vegetation
- Wear full length trousers, ensuring these are tucked into footwear
- Please be sure to thoroughly check your skin after being outdoors.
In the first instance, ticks should be carefully removed with a special tick removal tool. Alternatively, fine tipped tweezers can be used.
Grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible, taking care to ensure the whole tick is removed. Clean the bite with antiseptic or soap and water.