Walkers in Borrowdale copyright Charlie Hedley

Lyme disease

Ticks are tiny brown or black spider-like creatures that feed on the blood of animals and sometimes people. The number of ticks in the countryside is increasing and some ticks carry Lyme Disease, a potentially serious bacterial infection.

The Lake District has a high population of ticks, which is at its peak during late spring and early summer.

Ticks cannot jump or fly. Humans are most at risk of picking up ticks when brushing through tall vegetation, especially bracken.

Checklist to avoid picking up ticks:

  • Wear long trousers, tucked into socks and long-sleeved shirts.
  • Light coloured clothing will allow you to spot ticks and brush them off.
  • Insect repellent on clothing and repellent collars for pets may help.
  • Check yourself and your pet at the end of a walk or outdoor activity. Ticks may crawl around for some time before making contact with the skin and can be brushed off easily.

If you are bitten

Remove the tick as soon as possible by grasping it close to the skin with tweezers. Pull upwards firmly and steadily without twisting. Apply antiseptic to the bite-site but see your doctor if you find signs of a rash or redness.

Medical help

Lyme disease may first show itself as an expanding reddish, round rash in the area of the bite. This can start up to thirty days later. The early symptoms of the disease may resemble influenza, mild headaches, aching muscles and joints.

If you have any of these symptoms and you suspect that you may have been bitten by a tick, inform your doctor. Lyme Disease is treatable with antibiotics and the earlier it is diagnosed the better.