As the weather gets warmer, more and more of us are likely to be out and about for walks with friends and family. 

Whether you're going for a picnic in the park, trekking across fields or simply just enjoying the wilderness, it's important to be tick aware when you set out on foot.

Adult ticks are believed to be most active from March to mid-May and from mid-August to November - and if bitten by an infected tick you could get Lyme disease.

Here's all you need to know about Lyme disease and what you should do if you have think you may have symptoms, according to the NHS website.

What is it?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can be spread to humans by infected ticks, and is usually easier to treat if it's diagnosed early.

However, only a small number of ticks are infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.

The NHS website says: "A tick bite can only cause Lyme disease in humans if the tick has already bitten an infected animal.

"But it's still important to be aware of ticks and to safely remove them as soon as possible, just in case.

"Ticks that may cause Lyme disease are found all over the UK, but high-risk areas include grassy and wooded areas in southern England."

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What are the symptoms?

  • Early symptoms of Lyme disease include a circular red rash on your skin around a tick bite, often resembling a bull's-eye on a dartboard

- The rash can appear up to three months after being bitten by a tick and usually lasts for several weeks

- Most rashes appear within the first four weeks

While other symptoms may include..

  • A high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
  • Headaches
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Tiredness and loss of energy

What should you do?

To remove a tick safely:

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers or a tick-removal tool and grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible
  • Slowly pull upwards, taking care not to squeeze or crush the tick. Dispose of it when you have removed it
  • Clean the bite with antiseptic or soap and water

You do not need to do anything else unless you become unwell.

You should contact your GP if you have been bitten by a tick or visited an area in the past month where infected ticks are found and you get flu-like symptoms – such as feeling hot and shivery, headaches, aching muscles or feeling sick, or a circular red rash.

How to avoid tick bites

  • Cover your skin while walking outdoors and tuck your trousers into your socks
  • Use insect repellent on your clothes and skin 
  • Stick to paths whenever possible
  • Wear light-coloured clothing so ticks are easier to spot and brush off