Health

Enjoy pest-free walking this summer

Along with lovely weather comes not so lovely stuff like troublesome ticks, blood sucking horseflies and prickly plants such as brambles and thistles (where many of these little nasties like to hide). Below is some advice on what to look out for and how to prevent getting bitten or stung whilst out walking.

Ticks are small spider-like creatures that feed off the blood of animals, including people. Ticks can cause illness, including Lyme Disease so it’s really important to know how to prevent getting bitten and how best to remove them if you do. Before setting off walking, we recommend you read this useful information leaflet created by Public Health England, which has lots of useful advice on how to enjoy the great outdoors and be tick aware.

There are many other critters out there at the moment that like to sting and bite so we would always recommend taking precautions to avoid this happening. Below is advice from the NHS website on how to prevent insect bites and stings:

  • Remain calm and move away slowly if you encounter wasps, hornets or bees – don’t wave your arms around or swat at them.
  • Cover exposed skin – if you’re outside at a time of day when insects are particularly active, such as sunrise or sunset, cover your skin by wearing long sleeves and trousers.
  • Wear shoes when outdoors.
  • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin – repellents that contain 50% DEET (diethyltoluamide) are most effective.
  • Avoid using products with strong perfumes, such as soaps, shampoos and deodorants – these can attract insects.
  • Be careful around flowering plants, rubbish, compost, stagnant water, and in outdoor areas where food is served.
  • Never disturb insect nests – if a nest is in your house or garden, arrange to have it removed (GOV.UK has details about pest control services and how your local council can help).
  • Avoid camping near water, such as ponds and swamps – mosquitoes and horseflies are commonly found near water.
  • Keep food and drink covered when eating or drinking outside, particularly sweet things – wasps or bees can also get into open drink bottles or cans you’re drinking from.

If you’re heading to the beach after your walk, it is well worth checking out the BeachWise website too, which has lots of great tips and advice for enjoying yourself safely and responsibly.

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