As we enjoy the great outdoors, it is important to be ‘tick aware’. In the UK, ticks can carry infections such as Lyme disease and the much rarer tick-borne Encephalitis.

What are ticks?

Ticks are small, spiderlike creatures that feed on the blood of animals, including people.

A tick on a leaf

Where are ticks found?

Ticks live in many different outdoor environments, but they are particularly common in grassy and wooded areas. You are therefore more at risk of being bitten if you take part in activities such as hiking, cycling, or camping, but they can also sometimes be found in urban gardens.

A sign in a forest saying "Beware of ticks!"

How to avoid tick borne infections

While walking in green spaces, consider wearing clothing that covers your skin to make it more difficult for ticks to access a suitable place to bite.

Use insect repellent, such as DEET, and consider wearing light coloured clothing so that you can easily spot ticks and brush them off.

After spending time outside, check yourself, your clothing, your pets, and others for ticks. Remove any attached tick as soon as you find it using a tick-removal tool or fine-tipped tweezers.

Diagram showing the proper way to remove a tick from skin using tweezers. You should remove the tick where it has attached to the skin rather than by pulling it off by the body

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is an infection transmitted by some tick species. The disease can be acquired when bitten by an infected tick, particularly when spending time outdoors in green spaces. Although Lyme disease should not deter you from enjoying the outdoors, you can reduce your chance of infection by following the precautions above.

A circular rash on someone's arm

What to do if you have symptoms of Lyme disease

If you have developed symptoms such as a bulls-eye rash after being bitten by a tick or spending time outdoors, immediately contact your GP or call NHS 111, mentioning where you have been and if you remember being bitten. There are national guidelines that your doctor will follow that provide advice on diagnosis and management of Lyme disease.

Visit UKHSA’s website to find out more about Lyme disease and how you can stay tick aware.

Other seasonal advice

Get tips for staying safe during the spring or summer.