Brits have been urged to take caution as the warm weather approaches and ticks emerge to feed on the blood of passing humans and animals.
Gardening experts at BillyOh.com have compiled a list of top tips to help the public stay safe during peak tick season.
Ticks are most common in the UK’s woodland areas and are often found clinging to tall grass and shrubs – but numbers have increased dramatically in the past ten years.
A blood-sucking member of the spider family, there are over 22 species in the UK, each becoming particularly active from the start of spring to mid-autumn.
The majority feed on wild animals such as bats, woodland birds and badgers, but they are known to cling onto family pets or bite at the ankles of passers-by, too.
Ticks can transmit bacteria when feeding which can cause Lyme disease, which can become serious if not treated.
Named as a danger to public health, experts are urging people to remain vigilant of the critter and ensure that they are properly prepared to deal with the risk.
Tips include swapping out sandals for wellies, opting for light coloured clothing and not straying from footpaths unless necessary.
A spokesperson from BillyOh.com said: “As the weather conditions improve, many Brits will be out enjoying the sun in grassy areas, where ticks are usually found.
“It’s vital to be educated on the risks of these tiny critters, as if you’re bitten and it’s not treated correctly, this can potentially result in serious consequences.
“Following a few simple tips can lower the risk of being bitten by a tick dramatically and prevent further health issues.”
Here are BillyOh.com’s top tips for ticks:
1. Stick to paths
Try not to stray from paths and avoid overhanging vegetation unless necessary. Ticks do not jump or fly so sticking to clear areas without tall grass or shrubs will decrease the chances of being bitten. If in an area where there is no footpath, try and avoid tall grass or shady areas that are surrounded by shrubs.
2. Light Clothing
When in areas of woodland remained covered, wear long sleeve tops and full-length trousers. Protect areas such as the back of the knees, armpits and the groin area. Opt for light coloured clothing in order to easily identify any ticks present that may become attached.
Wellies are not only reserved for rainy days and are perfect when in high risk areas, as you can tuck trousers into the wellie boots. Tucking trousers into socks is also a great defence mechanism if wellies are not an option.
4. Regular checks
Ticks are very small and hard to identify when not paying attention. Check regularly whilst outside and also when home in order to remove any feeding ticks. The longer a tick is left attached the harder it is to remove.
5. Right tools
Avoid any home remedies to try and remove ticks such as covering the affected area of the body in Vaseline or nail varnish or even burning them off. Instead, use a tick removal tool. This will help avoid aggravating the tick and lower the risk of secondary infection. When removed, use an antiseptic wipe and be aware of any symptoms of Lyme disease.