Q. My son goes hiking a lot and I’m worried about him getting tick bites, I’ve heard those are very serious. What can he do to avoid being bitten?
A. Most tick bites happen in late spring, early summer and autumn because these are the times of year when most people take part in outdoor activities, such as hiking and camping. Tick bites can carry a risk of Lyme disease and the Scottish Highlands is known to have a particularly high population of ticks.
It’s thought only a small proportion of ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, so being bitten doesn’t mean you’ll definitely be infected. However, it’s important
to be aware of the risk
and seek medical advice if you start to feel unwell.
Many people with early symptoms of Lyme disease develop a circular rash around the tick bite.
The rash usually develops around three to 30 days after you’ve been bitten, and is often described as looking like a bull’s-eye on a dart board. It will be red, the edges may feel slightly raised and it may get bigger over several days or weeks. It is typically around 15cm (six inches) across, but it can be much larger or smaller and some people may develop several rashes in different parts of their body.
Around one in three people with Lyme disease won’t develop a rash.
Some people with Lyme disease also have flu-like symptoms in the early stages, such as tiredness (fatigue), muscle and joint pain, headaches, fever, chills or neck stiffness.
Speak to a health professional if you’ve been bitten by a tick and you develop a rash or have flu-like symptoms
It’s important to tell them that you’ve been bitten by a tick.
More serious symptoms may develop if Lyme disease is left untreated or is not treated early.
For more information visit www.nhsinform.scot and search for “tick bites”.
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