Don’t get ticked off by bites

As the UK starts to emerge from lockdown, there will be even more people venturing into the countryside and a stark warning has gone out from the British Association for Shooting and Conservation regarding ticks and Lyme Disease.

Believe it or now, this week is Tick Bite Prevention Week, with the UK’s largest shooting organisation raising awareness about the issue.
BASC deer officer Audrey Watson explained that Lyme Disease-infected ticks are especially prevalent in The New Forest in Hampshire, Thetford Forest on the Norfolk / Suffolk border and in the Scottish Highlands.
She said: “Ticks are carriers of a range of diseases, the most prominent of which is Lyme Disease. The bacteria responsible for the disease is passed into our bloodstream when a tick bites by burrowing into the skin. Lyme Disease is potentially very serious and, if left untreated, can lead to chronic fatigue and eventually affect the joints, the heart and the nervous system.

“It can be treated with antibiotics if caught early enough but everyone needs to be able to recognise the signs – which include a characteristic bullseye rash – and certainly check themselves and their dogs after being in tick-prone areas.
“While Lyme Disease is highly treatable, it can be a debilitating and long-lasting illness and the more that people are aware of it, the more likely they are to firstly take steps to avoid tick bites but also to seek early treatment if they suspect they may have the disease on finding the characteristic signs.
“The best way to reduce the chances of a tick bite are to wear long trousers and long sleeves, preferably light coloured to show up any ticks that land on you and not to walk through high bracken or high grass. You can buy tick-proof clothing impregnated with tick repellent and these do work very well.”

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