Ticks are small spider-like creatures that are mainly found in woodland and heath areas. Peak seasons for ticks in the UK is between March and June, and again from August to November, but there is still a risk of picking them up all year round. They attach to your skin, suck your blood and can cause Lyme Disease, however most ticks do not cause serious health problems. They live in the fur and feathers of many birds and animals.
If you find a tick attached to your or your pet’s skin, there’s no need to panic – the key is to remove the tick safely as soon as possible:
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
- Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.
If you develop a rash or fever in the days/weeks following the removal of a tick, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor. Be sure to tell them about your recent tick bite, when the bite occurred, and where you most likely acquired the tick.
You can reduce your risk of being bitten by a tick if you:
- Keep to footpaths and avoiding long grass when out walking.
- Wear appropriate clothing in tick-infested areas (a long-sleeved shirt and trousers tucked into your socks).
- Wear light-coloured fabrics that may help you spot a tick on your clothes.
- Use insect repellent on exposed skin.
- Inspect your skin for ticks, particularly at the end of the day, including your head, neck and skin folds (armpits, groin, and waistband).
- Check your children’s head and neck areas, including their scalp and make sure ticks are not brought home on your clothes.
- Keep an eye on your pets to help ensure they do not bring ticks into your home in their fur.
At Private GP Extra, patients have access to highly experienced GPs across the North West of England, at a time to suit them. Our doctors provide a personalised service, with continuity of care for every person, and can also offer a smooth and rapid onward referral to a specialist, if required. To book an appointment with one of our GPs, please visit https://www.privategpextra.com/appointments/ or call 0161 428 4464.