Camping checklist for Lyme disease prevention

Camping holidays are a fantastic way to enjoy our beautiful countryside and bring families or friends together, or give your children an affordable school trip with a sense of adventure.

Camping falls into the highest category of risk for tick bites, so follow our advice to make sure everyone stays safe.

Download Leaflet

Download a printable A4 Camping checklist

When you are packing

  1. Take a pair of pointed tweezers or a tick remover tool, suitable for removing all sizes of tick.
  2. Take alcohol disinfectant to clean skin after tick removal.
  3. Spray the entire groundsheet and tent with permethrin. You can also spray clothing for very good protection.
  4. Apply a repellent effective against ticks to exposed skin. Bug repellents containing deet are effective.
  5. Take light coloured clothes and pyjamas, which will make it easier to see ticks.
  6. Take a camping seat or at least a blanket to sit on, instead of sitting on grass.

While camping

  1. You cannot feel a tick biting. You have to look for ticks attached to the skin. They can be as small as a poppy seed and very difficult to see.
  2. Have a “tick buddy” and check each other at least twice a day for ticks in places that you cannot see, particularly behind the ears, on the back of the neck and around the hairline.
  3. Remember to check under waistbands and any tight clothing. Check your groin and abdomen regularly, as ticks will crawl long distances inside your clothing to reach this soft warm area. Males need to check their genitals, as ticks often attach here and may go unnoticed for a long time.

After you return home

  1. Wash absolutely everything when you get home, or give it a blast in the tumble dryer for 20 minutes. You do not want to bring ticks home as your holiday souvenir!
  2. Many people with Lyme disease do not remember ever seeing a tick bite them. Do not assume you cannot have Lyme disease just because you think you have not been bitten.
  3. Lyme disease symptoms can take 3 days to 3 months to appear after being bitten by a tick. If you develop symptoms that could be Lyme disease, see your doctor immediately and mention that you have been camping and/or bitten by a tick.
  4. Lyme disease symptoms may include a red, circular expanding rash that is not painful or itchy, or symptoms like flu, or other symptoms that affect the nerves, brain, heart, joints, and eyes. Go to Symptoms to learn to recognise these symptoms.

Do you have friends who need to know this too? Wear a Lyme bracelet and start conversations about Lyme disease prevention.

How to remove a tick correctly

  1. Do NOT DELAY removing the tick. Prompt removal reduces the risk of Lyme disease.
  2. Use a tick remover tool or pointed tweezers if possible. If not, use long fingernails.
  3. Lift straight upwards, pulling firmly and steadily. Do NOT squeeze the tick’s body.
  4. Disinfect the bite area and wash your hands with soap.
  5. If you don’t manage to get the feeding parts out, the bite could go septic but this is not Lyme disease.
  6. Don’t put substances on the tick. Putting Vaseline, nail varnish or any other substance on a tick will make the tick more likely to vomit Lyme disease bacteria into your body.