Safe Summer

Stay safe this summer

During the warmer weather, we enjoy longer days and sunshine, however this can result in some unwanted health issues. Together with our GPs we have put together advice and tips to help you stay well this summer. Click on the links below to find out more.

Be tick smart >

With the arrival of the warm weather, now is a good time to brush up on your knowledge of ticks, what they are, where they live, the diseases they can carry, and how to minimise your risk of infection.

You can find ticks throughout the year, but they are most active between spring and autumn. Ticks can transmit bacteria that cause disease, such as Lyme Disease.

Although not all tick bites result in disease, it is important to know how to avoid tick bites and what action to take if you or your family get bitten. Learn more in this video featuring Dr Lindsey Kinlin.

What are ticks and where can you find them 

Ticks are small, spider-like creatures that feed on the blood of animals, including people. They are usually found in woodlands, grassland, moorland, heathland and some urban parks and gardens. 

Ticks don’t jump or fly, they climb onto your clothes or skin when you brush against something they are on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood.  It may take several days before a tick drops off your skin.

To minimise the risk of being bitten by a tick, you should:

  • keep to paths and away from long grass or overgrown vegetation if possible, as ticks crawl up long grass in their search for a feed
  • wear appropriate clothing in tick infested areas (long sleeved shirt and long trousers tucked into socks). Light coloured fabrics are useful, as it is easier to see ticks against a light background
  • consider using insect repellents
  • inspect skin frequently and remove any attached ticks

Ticks and Lyme Disease

Ticks can transmit bacteria that causes diseases such as Lyme Disease, which can lead to very serious health conditions if left untreated. Symptoms of Lyme Disease can include flu-like symptoms in the early stages, such as:

  • tiredness (fatigue)
  • muscle and joint pain
  • headaches
  • a high temperature (fever)
  • chills
  • neck stiffness

A characteristic expanding rash which looks like a bulls-eye pattern is present in most cases. You  may not always remember being bitten by a tick, so if you have spent time outdoors and develop any of these symptoms, seek advice from your GP.

Lyme Disease can be treated with a course of antibiotics. Without treatment, more serious conditions such as viral-like meningitis, facial palsy, nerve damage and arthritis can develop, so prevention and early detection are crucial.

How to check for ticks
When you are outdoors for a long period of time, make it a habit to look over your clothes/body and  brush off any ticks you find. When you get home, carry out a more thorough check by removing your clothes and having a good look and feel for any ticks – look out for anything as tiny as a freckle or a speck of dirt.  Tick bites may not hurt and you don’t always notice you’ve been bitten, so make sure your thoroughly check yourself, your children and your pets.

Ticks prefer warm, moist places on your body especially the:

  • groin area
  • waist
  • arm pits
  • behind the knee
  • along hair lines

Young children are more commonly bitten on the head/scalp so check around their neck, behind the ears and a long the hairline. Don’t forget to check you pets’ bedding too!

What to do if you have been bitten

If you do get bitten, removing the tick quickly and correctly can help to reduce any potential risk. The safest way to remove a tick is to use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers, or a tick removal tool:

  • grasp the tick as close to the skin as  possible
  • pull upwards slowly and firmly, as mouthparts left in the skin can cause a local infection
  • once removed, apply antiseptic to the bite area, or wash with soap and water and keep an eye on it for several weeks for any changes

Contact your GP if you begin to feel unwell and remember to tell them you were bitten by a tick or have recently spend time outdoors.

More information about ticks and Lyme Disease is available on NHS Choices.

Dealing with hayfever >

 More information coming soon.

Stay safe in the sun >

 More information coming soon.

Dealing with asthma >

More information coming soon.