Preventing Lyme disease 

There is currently no vaccine available to prevent Lyme disease. The best way to prevent getting Lyme disease is to be aware of the risks when you visit areas where ticks are likely to be found and to take sensible precautions.

This includes woodland and heath areas of the UK, Europe and North America.

You can reduce the risk of infection by:

  • keeping to footpaths and avoiding long grass when out walking
  • wearing appropriate clothing in tick-infested areas (a long-sleeve shirt and trousers tucked into your socks)
  • wearing light-coloured fabrics that may help you spot a tick on your clothes
  • using insect repellents
  • inspecting your skin for ticks, particularly at the end of the day, including your head, neck and skin folds (armpits, groin, and waistband)
  • checking your children’s head and neck areas, including their scalp (skin on top of their head)
  • making sure that ticks are not brought home on your clothes
  • checking that pets do not bring ticks into your home in their fur

How to remove a tick

If you find a tick on your skin or your child’s skin, remove it by gently gripping it as close to the skin as possible, preferably using fine-toothed tweezers. Pull steadily away from the skin.

Do not use a lit cigarette end, a match head or volatile oils to force the tick out. Some veterinary surgeries and pet shops sell inexpensive tick removal devices which may be useful if you frequently spend time in areas where there are ticks.

A feeding tick 

Page last reviewed: 14/05/2013

Next review due: 14/05/2015