As Important as it is to know how to remove ticks safely (which you can learn here), It’s even more important that you don’t get bitten in the first place. Sadly, in some areas, it’s almost impossible not to be bitten but there are some simple things you can do to help prevent and reduce your risk of being bitten and therefore infected.

  1. Wearing light coloured clothing allows you to see any ticks which may have attached themselves to your clothing – allowing you to remove them before they bite you.
  2. Wearing long-sleeved tops, trousers instead of shorts and tucking in your clothes eg, your top into your trousers and your trousers into your socks. A ticks natural instinct is to crawl upwards so by tucking in your clothes you’re reducing a ticks ability to get under your clothes and therefore close to your skin
  3. Try your best to stick to the path and avoid areas which are overgrown with long grass, leaflitter, heather, bracken, etc.
  4. Carry a tick removal tool with you at all times, if possible, because the sooner you remove a tick the less time it has to infect you. It’s vital that you remove a tick safely though so please look here to learn how.
  5. Using a repellent is a great way to add an extra layer of protection – learn more here
  6. If you are going into an area or work in an environment where your risk of tick bites is high then you can get clothing (often in hunting shops or online) which is embedded with tick repellent or you can spray your clothing and shoes with repellent
  7. Check yourself, your children and your pets regularly for ticks when out and about and brush off any that are unattached.
  8. If you see an embedded tick, remove it as quickly as possible using the correct tick removal technique. If possible, take a picture of the embedded tick. If you are unable to remove the tick successfully, visit a doctor immediately, even if it means going to A&E.
  9. Taking a shower when you get home and check yourself thoroughly for ticks. It’s important to feel your skin and not just rely on your eyes – as ticks can be so small that your eyes may miss a tick whereas your fingers will feel it.
  10. Check any people or pets who were out and about with you and if bitten, put all clothes in the tumble dryer on the highest heat possible or wash your clothes at a high temperature.
  11. If you notice an EM rash or become unwell following a tick bite, see your GP immediately and mention your concerns about Lyme disease. Draw around the rash with a pen to monitor any changes and take photos. Please note that around one third of Lyme disease patients never experience an EM rash and so it is important to look out for symptoms as well and keep a symptom journal.
  12. Familiarise yourself with the NICE Lyme disease guideline and the RCGP resources on Lyme disease.