Enjoy Dorset’s countryside but ‘be tick aware’ - Public Health Dorset


Enjoy Dorset’s countryside but ‘be tick aware’

We all love this time of year, getting outside, being in nature, going for lots of glorious walks across the county – some of the best months to spend time looking after your wellbeing.

Walking and being in nature has a range of health benefits, including improved mood, reduced feelings of anxiety and stress. Being in nature can also help people cope during challenging times.

Dorset has a wealth of greenspaces. Our county has over 40 countryside sites, including two country parks and a National Nature Reserve. We can enjoy all that Dorset has to offer and make the most of being outdoors in our countryside whilst being tick aware!

Ticks can occur at any time of year, but tick activity is at its peak during the spring and summer months. Ticks are small arachnids that can carry diseases such as Lyme disease and can be found in woodlands, grasslands, and moorlands. Ticks can also be found in some urban parks and gardens.

When enjoying the great outdoors with friends and family – whether it’s to participate in walking running, gardening, camping, or picnicking – make sure you and others are ‘tick aware’ to reduce the risk of getting bitten. Follow this simple Tick Trick:

  • Think before you go out and about in country parks, fields and greenspaces
  • Readily use insect repellent!
  • Inspect yourself and others – after long walks check your skin and clothing for ticks, be sure to brush them off
  • Cover up – wear light coloured longer clothing
  • Keep moving – walk on paths if you can, and don’t dwell in long grassy areas

If you do get a tick bite, remove it safely and as soon as possible following these steps:

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers or a tick-removal tool
  • Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible
  • Slowly pull upwards, taking care not to squeeze or crush the tick
  • Dispose of it when you have removed it
  • Clean the bite with antiseptic or soap and water

If you have been bitten by a tick or recently spent time outdoors and develop flu-like symptoms, contact your GP or dial NHS 111. Visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/lyme-disease/ to find out the symptoms of Lyme disease.

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has a blog on the importance of being tick aware and what Lyme disease is which you can find on their website here. For more tips and tricks to stay safe from ticks, read this other blog by UKHSA.

Ellen Finlay

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