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How to check for ticks this summer

With summer in full swing it’s more than likely you’ll be enjoying outdoor adventures.

But with the great outdoors comes the possibility of not so great ticks.

These are tiny creatures found in woodland, moorland, grassland and parks. Young ticks can be as small as a poppy seed, whilst older ticks look like a tiny spider.

Ticks can sometimes pass on diseases to humans, including Lyme disease. But not all ticks carry disease.

Signs of Lyme diseases include a circular red rash and flu-like symptoms. If the infection is not treated swiftly with antibiotics – it can cause nerve and heart problems, pain and swelling in the joints, and trouble concentrating.

Removing ticks quickly and safely greatly reduces any risk of illness.

So, how do you check for ticks?

If you’ve been around any tall grass, low-to-the-ground shrubs, wooded plants, or even your garden, you should do a tick check.

This includes checking every part of your body for ticks, they can be as small as a poppy seed.

Make sure to check between joints (behind the knees, elbows, armpits), behind your ears and anywhere covered in hair (behind the neck) as ticks love warm, dark places.

If you’ve gone hiking with your dog, make sure to check that they are tick-free as well.

Shower afterwards to not only get dirt off you but to wash off any unnoticed ticks. It’s also a perfect time to do a tick check.

What does a tick bite look like?

A tick bite usually results in a small red bump – similar to the bump you get when a mosquito bites you – and it will likely go away after a few days.

The distinct red rash associated with Lyme disease is circular and forms a pattern like a bullseye – but it’s important to note that not everyone who gets Lyme disease will get a rash.

The NHS points out that the majority of tick bites are harmless, and that only a small amount of ticks carry the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease in humans.

How to get rid of ticks on your body

Don’t panic, your odds of catching Lyme disease are fairly low in the first 24 hours so the quicker you check the better.

Use tweezers if you spot any bites or tick removal keys you can purchase online. Don’t use your fingers as you may end up splitting any nasty pathogens which could cause infection.

With your tweezer or key, slowly and steadily pull upward, without twisting or jerking. This way parts of the head or mouth won’t remain embedded in your skin.

Then clean off the area using rubbing alcohol or antibacterial soap, clean both the area of the bit and the tool you used to remove the tick.

How to kill ticks found on clothing

Ticks love to hang onto clothing and can be brought into your home this way. Carefully inspect all outer layers of clothing and gear for ticks.

To kill any ticks found on clothing, you can put them in a dryer for 10-15 minutes, and the heat should overwhelm them.

If the clothes are dirty, wash them in hot water. Make sure the water’s hot because cold or lukewarm water will not kill the ticks.

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