Watch out! Why you should be aware of the dangers of tick bites
We know of the health benefits of the great outdoors but don't forget about the danger of tick bites.
Due to their breeding patterns, the tick population is highest in late spring and early summer.
Around 50-100 people a year, who are unfortunate enough to suffer tick bites, are diagnosed with Lyme disease, which, in a minority of extreme cases, can lead to severe heart or nervous system disease.
The risk of ticks is also present in other countries and two cases of Lyme disease were notified here in the first seven weeks of 2015.
Ramblers, campers, mountain bikers and people who work in forested or grassy areas should all be vigilant.
The advice is:
* Wear long trousers.
* Put on a long-sleeved shirt and shoes
* Use an insect repellent
Read more: Avoiding ticks and other bugs this summer
* Check skin, hair and warm skin folds (especially the neck and scalp of children) for ticks, after a day out
* People should also remove any ticks and consult a GP if symptoms develop. Only a minority of ticks carry infection.
* If a tick is removed within a few hours, the risk of infection is low. The skin where the tick was found should then be washed with soap and water and the area checked over the next few weeks for swelling or redness.
* Anyone who develops a rash or other symptoms should visit their GP.
Health & Living