Diseases such as leishmaniasis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis and heartworm can prove fatal to your pets so precautions should be taken.
If you are bitten then ticks can pass on Lyme disease, the beginning of which is recognisable by a red rash in the shape of a bullseye target, usually with a small bite mark at its centre.
At the earliest sign you should visit a local doctor as antibiotic treatment is possible to deal with the flare up, if you leave it real problems can occur and cause highly disabling illness.
To protect your pets you can use spot-on treatments such as Frontline, and use a small hook to pick out the tick from your pets skin or your own, you can find treatments on Amazon.
Make a habit of looking over your pet for the distinctive tick, there is a larger black variety and a small red coloured one.
How do ticks transmit diseases?
Ticks will attach themselves to humans or animals and feed on the blood after biting their host.
They can transmit pathogens to new hosts and the diseases they pass on are transmitted through their saliva, that's why it is important not to squeeze the body of a tick when attached to the skin as it will force these body fluids back into its host.
A tick's ability to spread illnesses and diseases is very good as they can feed on large amounts of blood and increase the chances of absorbing a pathogen.
They can also travel long distances as they attach themselves to humans and animals who then move around.
Ticks also have a long life span, sometimes a few months, and they reproduce in large numbers, ensuring diseases they carry are kept active in the environment.
The most common area for the presence of ticks is woodland so if you are out walking with family and friends, or with your dog, then make a habit of looking over your clothes and through your pet's fur to try and spot any ticks early.
If will also help if you wear light-coloured clothing that shows ticks easily and covers arms and legs. Wear long-sleeved shirts, tight at the wrists, long pants tight at the ankles and tucked into socks, and shoes covering the whole foot.
Apply diethyltoluamide (e.g., DEET) to skin and permethrin to clothing. But do not apply it to clothing while it is being worn, and allow the clothing to thoroughly dry before wearing.
Perform daily checks of skin for ticks. Check children two to three times a day. Check under waistbands, sock tops, under arms, and any other moist areas.
Remove ticks by using fine-tipped tweezers or toothed hooks. Grasp the tick firmly and as closely to the skin as possible. Use a steady motion, pull the tick’s body away from the skin.
If parts of the tick remain stuck in the skin, they should be removed as soon as possible.
Suffocating the tick with oil, cream etc. may induce injection of more infectious material into the body, so do not use petroleum jelly, burning matches or cigarette ends, nail polish or other products.