PARENTS of children playing in Killarney National Park have been urged to take whatever precautions they can to prevent them from being bitten by ticks and, possibly, infected with Lyme disease.
Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Michael Gleeson, said as the protocols and rules regarding outdoor activities are being relaxed, many more people, especially young people, are visiting Killarney National Park.
“Quite naturally, children run and roll and play in the grass. Their parents should ensure that they are properly dressed in order to minimise the possibility of being infected by a tick and contracting Lyme disease,” he said.
Mayor Gleeson said the best advice is that they should ensure that socks are pulled up outside of trouser legs and that, if possible, long-sleeved shirts are worn.
Parents should also check their children after they have been playing in parks in order to determine if there are any attached ticks or bite marks.
“Lyme disease is a terribly debilitating one and it can take a sufferer many years to recover. Prevention is certainly better than cure,” Cllr Gleeson said.
A perceived reluctance by the authorities to erect signs in Killarney National Park warning the public of the dangers posed by ticks was slated at a meeting of Killarney Municipal District Council earlier this year.
The lack of basic information at the entrance to the parks at Muckross and Knockreer was highlighted by Cllr Brendan Cronin who stressed that there could be no negative consequence of providing proper information to the public by means of signage.
“Millions of people are going in there unaware of the dangers that lay ahead of them. As far as I can see, the OPW are washing their hands of it,” he said.
Ticks have been a major problem in the national park for years but, despite repeated calls from the politicians and the public – including many who have contracted Lyme’s disease – no warning signs have been put in place.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is spread to human by infected tick. Symptoms can include a rash, sometimes shaped like a bull’s eye, fever, chills, headache, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes.
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