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Home Topics Infectious Diseases Infections A-Z Ticks Tick Prevention and Removal

Tick Prevention and Removal

Ticks

Information on how to avoid being bitten and guidance on how to remove ticks safely when attached.

Tick Bite Prevention

The most important tick prevention behaviour is regular checking of your body, particularly the skin folds, and prompt removal of any ticks found. It is important to try and remove ticks within 24 hours of attaching.

The following measure can also help to prevent tick bites.

  • Use of repellent on skin (DEET) and/or permethrin on clothing
  • Avoiding contact with tall vegetation where ticks are likely to be questing
  • Walk on the paths or centre of tracks where possible rather than in the long grass or verges
  • Wearing light coloured clothing to easily see ticks and brush them off before they attach to skin
  • Tuck trousers into socks or shoes to minimise ticks under clothing
  • Regular checks for ticks on clothing
  • Regular use of tick treatment on companion animals and regular checking and removal of ticks from pets


Minimising ticks in gardens

We have received increasing reports of ticks in gardens, predominantly gardens surrounded by favourable tick habitats such as woodland, which support populations of deer, and rough grassland. In order to minimise ticks in your garden we recommend the following steps:

  • Create a buffer zone between favourable tick habitat and lawn– paving, wood chips and gravel
  • Keep lawns short
  • Rake up leaf litter in borders
  • Plant distasteful plants so deer are not attracted to your garden
  • Fence to keep out deer

Tick risk areas

Different tick species are found in different habitats, but the ticks most commonly found on humans or their pets are found in woodland, heathland, upland or moorland pastures and grassland. Ticks are particularly abundant in ecotones, the transition zone between two vegetation communities, such as woodland and meadow or shrub communities, which permit a wider range of potential hosts.
 

Ticks on pets

Ticks frequently feed on companion animals, and as a result, pets can bring ticks into the home or garden, so it is important to regularly check your pets and their bedding for ticks, and use approved tick control products as recommended by your vet. This is important not only in order to reduce human exposure to ticks, but also because pets are at risk of becoming infected with tickborne diseases specific to animals.

In January 2012, the EU regulations on travelling with your pets changed, so that tick treatment prior to travel is no longer mandatory. The British Veterinary Association (BVA) strongly recommends that you do continue to treat your pet before and during travel abroad to prevent tickborne infections, such as Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, and babesiosis, which can be life-threatening. We strongly recommend that you seek advice from y our vet before travelling with your pet.

For further details, please visit:

Removing a tick safely

If you are bitten, follow these simple steps to safely remove ticks

  1. Remove the tick as soon as possible using fine tipped tweezers or a tick-removal tool.
  2. Grasp the tick head parts as close to the skin as possible,
  3. Pull upwards firmly and steadily, without jerking or twisting (twisting is not recommended as this increases the chance of the mouthparts breaking off, thereby remaining in the skin and increasing the chance of a secondary localised infection).
  4. Don’t squeeze or crush the tick’s body as this could increase the risk of infection by prompting the tick to regurgitate saliva into the bite wound.
  5. After removal of the tick, apply an antiseptic to the bite site.
  6. Don’t use petroleum jelly, liquid solutions, freeze or burn the tick.
  7. After the tick has been removed, continue to check the bite site over the subsequent month, looking for signs of increased redness or rash.
  8. Consult your doctor if any symptoms develop.
     

Tick Awareness and Leaflets 

BBC - Health Explained: What is Lyme disease http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-13447191 [external link]