With the arrival of spring, now is a good time to brush up on your knowledge of ticks; what they are, where they live, the diseases they can carry, and how to minimise your risk of infection.
Ticks are small arachnids, which live off the blood of birds and mammals – including you. They are second only to mosquitoes for carrying diseases to humans. Global warming and changes in farming practices mean that across Europe there are now more ticks in the countryside.
They are present in most parts of the country and are most abundant in long grass, rough vegetation, bracken and woodland. They may be present throughout the year but are particularly active between May and October and especially at times of warm weather.
Whilst irritating, most tick bites are, essentially, harmless. However, Lyme disease is an illness which can develop in humans who are bitten by a tick, as is Tick Borne Encephalitis (TBE). To get the lowdown on ticks, Lyme disease and TBE, read our ‘Hill skills: tick alert’ article
The BMC Hill Walking Essentials DVD includes a chapter on ticks, and explains what they are, where they live, and precautions to take to reduce the likelihood of one attaching to you. The film also shows how to make body checks after a walk and how to remove a tick from your body.
Download an information leaflet about ticks (pdf)
Public Health England information issued April 2013
Download ‘Protect yourself from TBE in Europe’ (pdf)
On 10 May 2016, Jane Ellison, the public health minister, announced plans to commission three reviews on the diagnosis, treatment and transmission of Lyme disease. The Telegraph: Minister orders Lyme Disease review
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Lyme Disease Action
Lyme Disease UK