Tick list – be tick aware

Somerset County Council is encouraging anyone planning a trip to the great outdoors to become tick aware, as warmer weather heightens the risk of tick bites.

With most Coronavirus restrictions ending 19 July and the summer holidays fast approaching there is expected to be an increase in people enjoying outside activities.

With the warmer weather comes ticks, who thrive in woodland, long grass and even urban parks.

The council has put together a ‘tick list’ to follow to reduce the risk of being bitten:

  • Walk on clearly defined paths to avoid brushing against vegetation where ticks may be present
  • Wear light coloured clothing so that ticks crawling on clothing can be spotted and brushed off
  • Use an insect repellent that can repel ticks and prevent them from climbing onto clothing or attaching to skin (always follow the manufacturer’s guidance)
  • Wear long trousers and long-sleeved tops to reduce the skin exposure, making it more difficult for them to find a suitable area to attach
  • Carry out a regular tick check after outdoor activities by looking and feeling for ticks that may have attached to the skin
  • Pets can be bitten too, so check after a walk

Being bitten by a tick doesn’t usually require hospital treatment. A tick can be safely removed without the need of a health professional:

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers or a tick-removal tool. You can buy these from some pharmacies, vets and pet shops.
  • Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible.
  • Slowly pull upwards, taking care not to squeeze or crush the tick. Dispose of it when you have removed it.
  • Clean the bite with antiseptic or soap and water.
  • The risk of getting ill is low. You do not need to do anything else unless you become unwell.

People are advised to contact their GP or dial NHS 111 if they start to feel unwell after being bitten by a tick or unwell after spending time outside when they might have been exposed to ticks.

Councillor Clare Paul, Somerset County Council member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Tick awareness is an important step towards reducing the chance of getting Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne infection in the UK. Removing the tick quickly reduces the risk.

“It is essential to protect yourself against getting bitten and to know how to safely remove one if you are.”