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Dublin: 21 °C Friday 25 May, 2018
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Going to be outside this summer? Get protected against Lyme Disease says the HSE

The disease is spread by tick bites.

Image: Tick via Shutterstock

WEARING LONG TROUSERS, using insect repellant and checking your skin could prevent disease this summer.

The HSE is warning people who will be spending time outdoors over the summer months to beware of Lyme Disease, which is caused by tick bites.

The disease is usually mild, affecting only the skin. However, it can be more serious and affect the brain and nervous systems.

Lyme disease can, in a minority of cases, cause severe debilitating heart and nervous system disease.

The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre today urged people who take part in outdoor pursuits to protect themselves against the disease.

As people are more likely to engage in outdoor pursuits in the summer months, ramblers, campers, mountain bikers, and others who work and walk in forested or grassy areas must be vigilant against tick bites, says HPSC specialist in public health medicine, Dr Paul McKeown.

“Ticks are tiny insect like creatures that feed on the blood of mammals and birds and will also feed on humans. Ticks are more numerous and more active in the summer months and protecting against tick bites protects against Lyme disease.

Tick bites can be prevented by:

  • Wearing long trousers, a long sleeved shirt and shoes
  • Using an insect repellent
  • 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

Lyme disease has been notifiable in Ireland since 2012 and there are between 8-13 reported cases notified in Ireland each year, but doctors suggest that many cases go unreported.

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