This year's Tick Prevention Week – starting on Monday, April 6 – will focus on children and the need to make them aware of the risks of being bitten by ticks now it's getting warmer.
Tick Prevention week is organised by BADA-UK (Borreliosis & Associated Diseases Awareness UK).
It is an annual campaign timed to coincide with the spring holidays when the weather gets warmer and people are out and about more. Ticks are blood-sucking parasites which can carry a range of diseases, including Borreliosis (Lyme disease).
TICKS ARE NOT CONFINDED TO WILD, RURAL PLACES
Eight-year-old Helena was bitten while on a school camping trip in Cobham, Surrey. When she developed an expanding red rash, nobody knew that it was a sign that she had Lyme disease.
Five-year-old Emily was bitten in her back garden in Guildford, Surrey. Her mum thought her rash was a carpet burn but it was the first warning sign that she had Lyme disease.
These cases are not surprising. In the Mayor of London’s Draft report, "London Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (August 2008)", it was highlighted that, "the Royal Parks, Country Parks and the Green Belt are considered areas where contact with ticks is likely".
With cases of Borreliosis trebling in England and Wales since 2001, and increasing in Scotland by a factor of eight, it's important that we take preventative measures against ticks.
THE GOOD NEWS
Simple actions can deter ticks from biting us. If infection should occur, early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent any lasting effects.
This year, Tick Prevention Week focuses on children and making sure that they are tick aware too.
Wendy Fox, Chair of BADA-UK said: "Ticks are a part of nature and there is no need to panic about them. However, we should be aware of where they are likely to be, how to prevent them from biting us, and what to do if we are bitten, because they can sometimes make us sick.
"Teaching children about ticks does not need to be scary. It's no different to making sure they put on a seat belt in the car or that they don't take sweets from strangers. It is very important that a child knows to come and tell an adult if they have been bitten".
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