Ticks and Lyme Disease

Tick on thumbTicks are small, spider-like creatures that feed on the blood of animals, including people.

Ticks can survive in many places, but prefer moist areas with dense vegetation or long grass. They are usually found in woodlands, grassland, moorland, heathland and some parks and gardens.

They don't jump or fly, but wait until an animal or person brushes past to climb on. They then bite to attach to the skin and start to feed on blood. It may take several days to complete their blood meal, before they drop off.

Ticks can be found throughout the year, but are most active between Spring and Autumn.

Main health risks

Cartoon tickTicks can transmit bacteria that cause diseases such as Lyme disease, which can lead to very serious conditions if left untreated. Not all tick bites result in infection.

Symptoms can include flu-like symptoms, fatigue, muscle and joint pain.

A characteristic expanding rash, called erythema migrans, is present in most but not all cases. You may not always remember being bitten by a tick, so if you have spent time outdoors and develop any of these symptoms, seek advice from your GP.

Be tick aware

  • you could be exposed to ticks whenever you are outdoors and enjoying the countryside, even in your garden or the local park
  • ticks attach themselves to animals to feed and sometimes this can include people
  • you can prevent tick bites by walking on clearly defined paths, using insect repellent and performing regular tick checks
  • some tick bites can result in infection so it is important to remove ticks as soon as possible
  • ticks can be removed safely with tweezers or a tick removal tool, remember to wash your skin with soap and water or antiseptic.
  • if you have been bitten or recently spent time outdoors and start to feel unwell, contact your GP

For more detailed information download a copy of our information leaflets above or follow the external website links.