During the summer, as people spend more time outdoors, the risk of tick bites increases. The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) is urging people to protect themselves against Lyme disease, which is transmitted by infected biting ticks. Lyme disease can, in a small number of cases, cause severe debilitating heart and nervous system disease. However it is rare in Ireland.
The HPSC suggests that you prevent tick bites by:
- Wearing long trousers, long sleeved shirt and shoes
- Using an insect repellent, such as DEET (but use a low-strength DEET if you are pregnant – your local pharmacist can advise you)
- Checking skin, hair and warm skin folds (especially the neck and scalp of children) for ticks, after a day out
- Removing any ticks and consulting with a GP if symptoms develop
- If you have been walking your dog, check him/her too