Get ready to tackle ticks

Posted by Tony Ryan on 22/05/2016
A tick tucking in. Photo: www.lymediseaseaction.org.uk
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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

WATCH: Ticks and how to deal with them on BMC TV


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Lyme Disease Action
Tick Alert
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Anonymous User
18/03/2013
Great piece, thank you BMC. Steve P
Anonymous User
20/03/2013
warned by local vet,ticks present in Lyme Park
Anonymous User
21/03/2013
Having organised climbing holidays in central Europe, ‘Tick Talk’ on day one was essential, Key advise: stick near me for best prevention. As they love me this is a subject I’m experienced with.

Stay on paths and in clearings as much as possible, inspect your clothing and fleshy bits regularly for the little critters.

Also, Insect Repellent sprayed on shoes and clothing up to the knees is an effective ‘deterrent’.

Itchy bites can linger for several weeks, if in doubt see your GP and if you feel it’s necessary ‘DEMAND’ a blood test.
Anonymous User
07/06/2016
Nice one on blisters!
Anonymous User
04/05/2021
Currently after a tick bite, you no longer have to wait a few weeks for the test results, but you can immadiately TEST the tick for disease carrier and get the results in 10 minutes. When the TEST shows that the tick has been infected with the virus, you know that you need to see a doctor immediately, which can significantly speed up the introduction of appropriate treatment. If the TEST shows nothing and you still think the tick may have transmitted Lyme disease, you can still go to the doctor, test yourself and start treatment but a few weeks later. Although our TEST should never be treated as the only way to confirm or deny a person's Lyme infection (and blood tests are still the surest way), it is a great complement to the diagnosis of Lyme disease, as it can significantly speed up the diagnosis of the disease and the introduction of appropriate treatment. The speed of drug administration certainly reduces the occurrence of possible side effects associated with Lyme disease in an infected person. More about the test on www.checkthetick.com

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