With the school holidays on the horizon, families across West Sussex are being reminded to protect themselves against the risk of tick bites.
Ticks can transmit bacteria that cause diseases such as Lyme disease.
Although not all tick bites result in the disease, West Sussex County Council says it is important to know how to avoid tick bites and to take action if you or your family get bitten.
Ticks mainly attach themselves to animals, but sometimes they may bite you or your family.
Amanda Jupp, the county council’s cabinet member for adults and health said: “It is important to be tick aware and to remember that you could be exposed to ticks whenever you spend time outdoors, whether in your garden, local park or the countryside.
“You can prevent tick bites by walking on clearly defined paths, using insect repellent and making regular tick checks.”
Kayleigh Hansford, vector-borne disease scientist at Public Health England, said: “When enjoying the outdoors, we encourage you to be aware of what ticks are, where they are found, and how to remove them safely in order to protect yourself from tick-borne diseases. Carrying out a tick check involves looking and feeling for ticks that might be on your body.
“It is important to remove ticks promptly and safely using a tick removal tool. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull upwards slowly and firmly, as mouth-parts left in the skin can cause local infection. Clean the bite area and monitor it for several weeks for any changes.”
“If you feel unwell with flu-like symptoms or develop a spreading circular red rash after being bitten or spending time outdoors, you should visit your GP or call NHS 111 promptly. Remember to tell them where you have been and if you were bitten.”