ADVICE has been issued about the risk of infection caused by ticks as people go outdoors to enjoy the spring weather.

Tick can be found in forests, woodland, moorland and parks and are the size of a poppy seed.

Most ticks bites are harmless however some are infected with bacteria that can cause Lyme disease.

Dr Lindsay Kinlin said “Ticks that can transmit Lyme disease are very small and can easily be overlooked, so it is important to check regularly for attached ticks on the skin.

"Ticks prefer warm, moist places on your body, especially the groin area, waist, arm pits, behind the knee and along the hair line, so look out for anything as tiny as a freckle or a speck of dirt.”

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group has advised walkers to remove any ticks within 36 hours to ensure that there is not a risk of infection.

They can be removed with tweezers or special tick hooks, by pulling them gently upwards away from the skin.

Symptoms of Lyme disease include flu-like symptoms, head-aches, muscle pain or joint pain, accompanied by a bulls-eye rash pattern on the skin.

To minimise the risk of being bitten, take these steps to protect yourself:

  • 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, e.g. DEET

  • Inspect skin frequently and remove any attached ticks

  • At the end of the day, check again thoroughly for ticks, especially in skin folds

  • Make sure that children’s head and neck areas, including scalps, are properly checked

  • Check that ticks are not brought home on clothes

  • Check that pets do not bring ticks into the home on their fur