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Public Health England has issued a warning for parents to protect their children from ticks this summer. The small member of the spider family can bite into flesh and transmit diseases such as Lyme Disease.
It's the first time PHE has issued a warning of this kind, in line with year-on-year increase in reported cases of Lyme Disease.
Posted on Twitter, the warning reads: "Ticks wait on blades of grass for a host to pass by. #BeTickAware and protect yourself from tick bites and diseases by walking on clearly defined paths, using insect repellent and performing regular tick checks."
Ticks wait on blades of grass for a host to pass by. #BeTickAware and protect yourself from tick bites and diseases by walking on clearly defined paths, using insect repellent and performing regular tick checks. Find more simple and easy tips here: https://t.co/SSRu2fEEqR
- Public Health England (@PHE_uk) May 26, 2019
Ticks are active from spring through to autumn, when most of us are outside enjoying the sun and nature. The blood-sucking mites are generally found in woodlands, grasslands, heaths and urban paths, waiting on the tips of vegetation and long grass waiting for their host to brush past.
Ticks have natural anaesthetic in their saliva, meaning if bitten, it won't always hurt or sting the host. However, if you do find out you've been bitten, be sure to remove the the tick as soon as possible.
The sooner it's removed the less chance you have of catching a disease.
A tick can only cause Lyme Disease if the tick has already bitten an infected animal. While most ticks will be harmless, you should still remove it as soon as possible.
The warning by PHE was posted beside an educational video, giving tips about ticks and how to remove them if bitten.
To remove, grab a pair of tweezers and clasp the tick as close to the skin as possible, pulling gently upwards and out, making sure you take the mouth part with you.
If bitten, make sure to still keep an eye on the bite for a few weeks.
The NHS advise that early symptoms of Lyme Disease include a "circular red skin rash around a tick bite." This rash can appear up to three months after a bite, but most usually appear in the first four weeks.
Other symptoms of Lyme Disease include a high temperature, feeling hot and shivery, headaches, muscle and joint pain, tiredness and loss of energy.
PHE estimates there could be around 2,000 to 3,000 new cases of Lyme Disease occurring in the UK every year.
One high-profile sufferer of Lyme Disease is supermodel Bella Hadid. Her mother Yolanda, who also sufferers with the illness, alongside Bella's brother Anwar, explained her children grew up on a ranch where she thinks they were bitten by ticks.
"There are millions of cases worldwide," she explained on an episode of Real Housewives of Beverley Hills. "We lived on a horse ranch, we had ticks everywhere, every day of their life."
Speaking about her symptoms, Bella told the Evening Standard in 2015: "I was exhausted all the time. It affected my memory so I suddenly wouldn't remember how to drive to Santa Monica from Malibu where I lived. I couldn't ride. I was just too sick. And I had to sell my horse because I couldn't take care of it."
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