Ticks are nasty little biting insects that resemble small spiders. It's important to remove them properly to avoid leaving parts of them in your body. Here's the advice from the experts.
If you notice you've been bitten by a tick
Remove the tick as soon as possible by grasping it close to the skin with tweezers. Apply gentle pressure, twisting anti-clockwise and upwards, repeating if necessary. Various suppliers make tick removers. Consider buying one and carrying one with you in the outdoors.
Part of the tick may remain embedded, but you will have prevented the tick transferring the infection to you. If you can, save the tick in a sealed container in case you develop symptoms later.
Do I need to see a doctor?
Lyme Disease is carried by some ticks. It may first show itself as an expanding reddish, round rash (erythema migrans) in the area of the bite. This rash starts three to thirty days later.
Early symptoms may resemble flu, with swollen glands near the site, mild headaches, aching muscles and joints, and tiredness. It's possible, of course, that you have actually got flu.
Untreated, the disease can develop over months and even years, when facial muscle weakness, meningitis-like symptoms, and arthritis symptoms may occur.
If you have any of these symptoms and you suspect that you may have been bitten by a tick, tell your doctor. Lyme Disease can be treated with antibiotics. The earlier it is diagnosed, the better.
Can it be prevented?
Up to a point. The ticks cling to ends of vegetation and wave their legs around hoping to latch on to a passing animal or person – so your first defence is to keep your skin covered; not easy in hot weather.
If a tick attaches itself to your clothing, it can crawl around for some time before making contact with your skin.
Wear long trousers, tucked into socks if possible, and long-sleeved shirts. The danger of this is that you may be mistaken for a chav, especially if wearing a Berghaus jacket.
Light coloured clothes will help you spot ticks and brush them off, though see chav warning above.
Inspect for ticks every few hours and at the end of your day's outdoor activity. Undress and completely check your body for ticks. This can be made more enjoyable if you enlist the help of a close friend and return the compliment. It works for apes, so why not humans?
Insect repellent on clothing and repellent collars for pets may help.