Ticks are small spider like creatures that feed on the blood of animals and humans. They can transmit bacteria that cause diseases such as Lyme disease. Not all tick bites result in disease, but it’s important you know how to avoid tick bites and what to do if you get bitten. Ticks bite to attach to the skin and start to feed on blood. After a few days of feeding they drop off. Ticks can be found throughout the year, but are most active between spring and autumn. Ticks live in vegetation, so you may come into contact with them when you are outside, particularly whilst in long grass.
How to spot ticks
Staying on well defined paths, using repellant such as DEET and wearing light coloured clothing so you can help you easily spot ticks can reduce your chances of being bitten. Doing a body check for ticks will help you find and remove them as soon as possible. If you get bitten, removing the tick quickly and correctly can help to reduce any potential risk. Remove the tick using a pair of fine-tipped tweezers, or a tick removal tool —
- 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
- Apply antiseptic to the bite area once the tick has been removed
- Keep an eye on it for several weeks for any changes
- Squeeze the body of the tick
- Try to burn the tick
- Apply vaseline, petroleum jelly, nail polish or any other chemical to the tick
These things can make the tick regurgitate it’s infected stomach contents into the bite wound. Don’t grasp the tick around the body can separate the head from the body, leaving the mouth parts in the wound, which can become infected.
Contact your GP if you begin to feel unwell and remember to tell them you were bitten by a tick. For more information, see the following information from the NHS:
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