Lyme disease: recognizing, avoiding and removing a tickWe've all heard of ticks, you may have even seen them on your pets. But did you know that humans can also be bitten by these tiny mites that transmit serious diseases?
It is necessary to be aware of the risks and precautions to protect yourself in order to fight Lyme disease. In this article you will learn more about the characteristics and behavior of ticks, as well as the correct behaviors you should know to avoid or treat a tick bite.
What is a tick?
Ticks are parasitic, blood-sucking* mites, which are mainly active in humid and mild periods.
There are about 900 species of ticks that are found worldwide, of which 40 species of ticks can be found in Germany.
They usually live in
humid, wooded, grassy and forestry areas (deciduous forests, undergrowth, meadows, in low mountain ranges) and can also be found in urban areas (park, garden. ) occur. Therefore, they are most often found in the Spring and Autumn, when it is both cool and damp.
Ticks do not live on the ground, but lie in wait for their prey at the height of a blade of grass. And contrary to what you might think, the tick does not stay attached to its victim for long, but drops after each blood meal.
The eggs, larvae or adults of many tick species do not survive if it is too cold or too dry.
They are carriers of several serious diseases, including Lyme disease.
We focus here mainly on Ixodes ricinus, the most common tick in Europe and around the world.
The development cycle of the tick Ixodes ricinus takes place in three stages, which vary between 2 and 6. The stages are as follows: The egg hatches into a larva, which turns into a nymph (2 mm) and then into an adult tick (3-4 mm).
*Hematophagus: refers to an animal that feeds on the blood of other living creatures.
Why do ticks bite?
First of all, it is important to know that not all ticks bite. Only larvae, nymphs or adult females need to sting, as they require blood for their various molts. Nymphs cause the most bites because they are more numerous than adult ticks and therefore more likely to bite humans (over 80% of bites in some regions).
Ticks usually become active at night and during their molt, except in dry and hot periods when they need to feed more often.
How do ticks bite?
The tick has pedipalps* and sensory organs, including Haller's organ on the first pair of legs, which it uses to locate its host. The tick is attracted by the carbon dioxide, heat and odors of the host.
To reach it, the tick waits until the human or animal grazes the vegetation on which it is sitting with part of its body. Then clings to the animal. Finds an idyllic place to stab herself. Unlike fleas, ticks "jump" the tick does not!
Once on its host, the host cannot feel it because as soon as it takes hold, it injects a numbing saliva before cutting open the flesh and piercing its hypostome* to a small blood vessel to feed.
Humans are unfortunately an accidental host, as they feed mainly on the blood of vertebrates (birds, small mammals such as rabbits, rats . ) feed. It bites on the skin in a warm, moist place with good blood supply (armpits, ears, back of the knees, groin, crook of the elbow, neck, scalp). Always check these spots after every walk in the woods, in a field, or just after an afternoon in your yard.
*Pedipalps: see on the scheme of the characteristics of Ixodes ricinus. . Straight appendage of the arachnid that attaches to the chelicerae. (Depending on the group very different, the pedipalps form the pincers of scorpions and chelifers. In male spiders they serve as intromission organ) cf.: Larousse dictionary.
*Hypostome: is a harpoon-like, calcified structure near the mouth used to anchor the tick firmly to its host.
Where to find ticks?
How long does a tick remain attached?
Its blood meal lasts about 3 to 7 days, depending on the molting stage, after which it detaches from its host and falls off. For this reason, you cannot catch a tick that is on your pet, as it will not leave it until it has finished its blood meal.
How to remove a tick?
Caution: it is very important not to pull a tick out with your fingers, fingernails or tweezers! Pressing on the tick with your fingers or tweezers creates prere on the parasite's abdomen. This prere causes regurgitation, and during regurgitation, disease transmission takes place. The tick must also not be treated with any agent (z. B. Alcohol or ether) be treated, as this can also cause reflex regurgitation.
The procedure is the same for humans and animals. Get a tick remover with special hooks to avoid damaging the tick and remove it properly! You can buy this hook in pharmacies, parapharmacy, pet shops, etc. find.
1. Choose the right size of the hook
Choose a tick remover that is appropriate for the size of the tick. The more it has become engorged with blood, the larger it is.
2. Place the hook correctly
Push the hook of the tick remover through the lateral part (flank/side) of the tick as close to the skin as possible.
3. Perform the correct movement
Turn without pulling so that the tick comes off by itself. There is no particular direction of rotation. Perform the movement as if it were a screw.
What to do after you remove the tick?
A piece of the tick is still stuck in the skin, is that bad?
This is not particularly bad. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the head of the tick that remains in the skin, but its rostrum (stinger), through which it feeds. In the intestine of the tick are the bacteria that can cause disease in humans. So, once you have removed the body of the tick, there is no longer any risk of the bacteria ascending to the stinger and coming into contact with blood.
Once you have removed the tick (with or without the rostrum), disinfect immediately with the following synergy developed by Dr. Franck GIGON, general practitioner, is recommended.
Dilute a teaspoon of Calophyllum plant oil (≈5ml) with :
– 1 drop of essential oil of compact oregano – 1 drop of essential oil of Ceylon cinnamon – 7 drops of essential oil of palmarosa.
Apply 3 drops of the aromatic mixture directly to the bite site. Absorb into the skin by massaging it in.
Repeat the application three times a day for 10 days:
This synergy is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, children under 7 years, asthmatics, epileptics, people with a history of seizures, medical treatment, long-term illnesses or allergies to essential oils, consult a health professional.
The tick, neatly removed with a tick puller, can be sent to a specialized laboratory for analysis to learn which pathogens it carries.
Note the day of the bite and observe the affected area periodically for a few days to ensure that severe redness does not develop. When in doubt, if the redness persists and the flu-like symptoms (fever, sore muscles. ), fatigue, see your doctor urgently.
What are the risks of a tick bite??
After a tick bite, you have the possibility of contracting Lyme disease. A disease caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which is found in the tick's intestine.
The tick becomes infected with this bacterium when it has bitten and ingested blood from a host that carried the bacterium (rats, birds, rabbits, lizards, etc.).). This infection, transmitted by the tick, is the most common. The transmission of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi to humans occurs through the bite of a tick in 2 steps:
1: During the blood meal after the bite, bacteria from the tick's intestines enter its salivary glands.
2: Transmission through saliva depends on how long the tick stays on the skin of its host and how high the bacterial infestation of the tick is.
In Europe, experimental and clinical data have shown that the risk of Lyme disease transmission is low if the tick is removed within 24 hours of attachment. One more reason to check every part of your body after an outdoor activity!
The tick can also transmit other diseases, although the cases are much rarer. According to the French health authority Haute Autorite de Sante, you can be infected with the following diseases after a bite:
– Bacteria: Rickettiosis, tularemia or granulocytic anaplasmosis. – Parasites: Babebiosis – Viruses: meningoencephalitis (for which there is a vaccine)
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by a spiral-shaped bacterium of the genus Borrelia.
It is transmitted to humans if they are bitten by a tick infected with the bacterium. Therefore, it belongs to the so-called "vector-borne" Diseases. It is not easy to recognize, as it can cause a number of very different symptoms.
Because these symptoms are varied and non-specific, this leads to a medical odyssey and often a delayed diagnosis of the disease. It is possible that many people suffer from the disease without knowing it.
The Federal Office of Public Health estimates that 10,000 people in Switzerland contract Lyme disease each year. Lyme disease can cause severe neurological. lead to joint complications.
What are the symptoms?
Erythema migrans usually spreads concentrically from the injection site to a diameter of 5 cm or more. Usually this skin condition is not associated with pain or itching. Their extent, shape, appearance or duration varies from person to person.
This skin lesion can be single or multiple, depending on the stage of the disease. D. h. In phase 1, a single erythema migrans is seen on the body. When you reach phase 2, multiple erythema migrans may be visible all over the body.
Isolated erythema migrans usually occurs 3 to 30 days after infection, but can occur up to 3 months after the bite. Multiple erythema migrans occur between a few days after the isolated erythema migrans. On some weeks after the infection (usually up to 6 months after the bite).
Neuroborreliosis is damage to the nervous system (peripheral or central) or meninges in response to the spread of the bacteria. The main symptoms are facial paralysis (sometimes bilateral), facial numbness, numbness, diplopia*, headache*, neck pain or stiffness, photophobia*, nausea, vomiting. It occurs between a few days after the erythema migrans. Onset a few weeks after infection (usually up to 6 months after the bite).
*Diplopia: This is the double vision of a single object.
*Headache: this is a pain that is concentrated in the head area, the famous headache.
*Photophobia: This is a hypersensitivity to light that can cause headaches and eye pain.
Lyme carditis is heart damage in response to the spread of bacteria, the main manifestation of which is disturbances in electrical conduction between the atria and the heart chambers (atrioventricular blocks). The main symptoms are palpitations, dizziness, syncope, chest pain and shortness of breath*. It occurs between a few days after the isolated erythema migrans. On some weeks after infection (usually up to 6 months after the sting).
*Dyspnea: It is a subjective sensation of tightness of breath that manifests itself in difficulty breathing.
Lyme arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. Symptoms include joint swelling, usually in the knees.
Arthritis appears a few weeks or months after infection (usually up to a year after the bite).
How to avoid and repel ticks in humans?
The right reflexes
During outdoor activities, walks in the woods or even gardening, it is strongly recommended that you:
– Wear clothing that covers the entire body, including the lower body, ideally in bright colors (to better detect ticks). – Wearing a cap or hat – Wearing closed shoes (with pants tucked into socks). – Use an effective repellent on your clothing and body, which you should renew regularly! – Walking in the middle of paths and trails (tall grass, brushwood, etc.). avoid). – Do not sit or lie on the floor, use a large light-colored cloth, even for picnics. – Shower within 2 hours of the outing and inspect the entire body, visually, as well as by touch!
We recommend that you use an effective tick repellent that you apply to your clothing and/or body. Be sure to repeat the application regularly, as the effectiveness varies between 4 and 5 hours depending on the product used.
Puressentiel has a complete range of repellents for young and old, so you can defend yourself against mosquitoes, ticks and other biting insects.
Our products are guaranteed to contain 0 synthetic fragrances, 0 preservatives, 0 neurotoxic insect repellents and 0 propellants!
Defense spray adults
Defense spray Sensitive skin
repellent spray clothing and textiles
Active ingredients 100% of vegetable origin Without propellant gas From 6 months Does not stain No skin irritation
¹ Time to protect against ticks
* with organic essential oils
Use Puressentiel anti-tick biocidal products with caution. Tie tags before application. The product information together.
What are the risks of a tick bite for animals (dog, cat. ) ?
Ticks are dangerous to pets as they can transmit several serious diseases to pets, some of which unfortunately can be fatal.
Ticks transmit several serious diseases to pets:
Piroplasmosis, also called babesiosis, caused by a blood parasite. Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis and Rickettiosis, which are bacterial diseases. Lyme disease, also called Lyme disease. Hepatozoonosis, a parasitic disease rare in France, transmitted by swallowing a tick.
Certain ticks that secrete a toxin can cause temporary paralysis in dogs.
The right steps to take to protect yourself from pet diseases
1. Be vigilant when playing with your pet and avoid playing games that entice the cat to scratch or bite you. 2. Avoid bites-. Scratch wounds. Avoid bites-. Scratch Wounds. 3. If a bite or scratch does occur, disinfect the wound immediately. 4. Avoid approaching strange cats or dogs. If you are forced to do so, wash your hands thoroughly after contact and avoid touching your face or eyes prior to washing. If the animal bites or scratches you, disinfect the wound immediately and monitor your condition over the following weeks.
How can I protect my dog from ticks?
The first thing you should do to protect your pet is to examine him thoroughly after each trip outdoors. As with humans, ticks like to stay in places with thinner skin and in "hidden" places Places on, so you should especially search the following areas: Groin, armpits, between the fingers, around and in the ears, on the neck (remember to look under the collar), on the belly, around the eyes and even on the gums!
Thanks to its flexibility, the cat can remove ticks that have bitten itself, except on the head between the ears. In dogs, which are less flexible, they cannot reach all areas of the body as easily.
To further protect your dog, you can use a variety of products against parasites or ticks. Make sure that the product you use is not only effective against ticks, but also stays permanently on the coat so that you can kill the ticks before they can attach themselves to your dog.
To ensure better effectiveness, you should choose products that have good water resistance and thus maintain their properties even in humid periods.
Ask your veterinarian to prescribe the most appropriate remedy for you. Remember that a tick treatment must be renewed regularly and protection rarely reaches 100%.
Caution: never use a tick repellent intended for dogs on a cat without first consulting your veterinarian. Some of these agents are lethal to cats.
If you want to use natural products for your pet, here is a recipe for a repellent for you. Use it only on your dog and before each outing.
Recipe for a natural repellent for a dog:
Put 5 ml of essential oil dispersant (from the pharmacy), 30 ml of lavender or geranium hydrolate, 5 drops of citronella essential oil, 5 drops of geranium essential oil and 2 drops of true lavender essential oil in a spray bottle. Give it a good shake. Spray the coat before you go out.
How to remove a tick from my pet? (dog, cat, horse. )
Use the same method as for humans. Take a tick puller at hand, brush apart your pet's fur, place the tick puller as close as possible to the pet's skin and gently twist until the tick releases its host. Disinfect the animal's skin immediately with an antiseptic designed for the animal.
Let's avoid together the diseases transmitted by ticks:
Let's be vigilant and protect ourselves all effectively and naturally with Puressentiel Anti-Sting!
Dr. Franck Gigon, general practitioner, Paris, member of the editorial board of the journal "Phytotherapie de la recherche à la pratique" (Phytotherapy from research to practice).
Public Health France
Association France Lyme e.V.
High Authority of Health (Haute Autorite de Sante)
French Federation against Tick-borne Diseases (Federation Francaise contre les Maladies Vectoriels à Tiques)
Institut national d'excellence en sante et en service sociaux: Maladie de Lyme aux stades localises et dissemines (Lyme disease in localized and disseminated stages).
Excerpts from the book "HUILES ESSENTIELLES, HUILES VeGeTALES& HYDROLATS: Mes indispensables" by Isabelle Pacchioni, published by Editions Aroma Thera.
European Scientific Counsel Companion Animal Parasites