WALKERS are being warned about the dangers of ticks when in the countryside.

The warm weather means more people are out and about but experts warn this is also the peak season for Lyme disease.

The disease is transmitted through tick bites, which are more common at this time of year, particularly in the South Downs or Ashdown Forest.

People often get bitten while walking, hiking, camping and mountain biking.

Ticks are tiny, spider-like creatures which can be found in forests, woodland and suburban parkland.

Most do not carry infection but any area in which ticks are present should be regarded as a potential risk.

Hundreds of people in Sussex develop the condition each year.

A spokeswoman for the Lyme Disease Action said: “We’re all enjoying the sunshine but ticks are looking for a meal of our blood.”

Early symptoms of Lyme disease include tiredness, fever, flu-like malaise, headaches, joint pains, and possibly a bulls-eye type of skin rash.

For more details, visit www.lymediseaseaction.org.uk.