Ticks: Effective protection against bites and diseasesTicks lurk in the grass or on bushes. Tick bites can cause the diseases TBE. Transmit Lyme disease. Proper clothing, insect sprays with DEET or icaridin, and vaccination protect.
The most common tick species in Germany is the common wood tick – known in Latin as Ixodes ricinus – from the tick family. The reddish-brown animal is 2.5 to 4 millimeters in size. It crawls on eight legs. Carries pine claws with a stinger on the black head. The little bloodsuckers love not only dog and cat blood, but also that of humans. Usually the parasites wait about one meter above the ground for food – even in well-kept parks or gardens in the city. They cling to passing creatures in a split second. Jumping or even falling from trees, ticks can not, necessary is a direct contact.
Tick bite or tick bite: What is the right thing to do??
Ticks do not bite through clothing, they first cling to it and must find an entrance to the skin. Then the suckers go in search of a well supplied with blood, slightly damp skin area. Once this has been found, the animals open the skin with their mouth parts (chelicerae) and drill their stinging proboscis (hypostome) into the tie in order to suck. The saliva prevents the blood from clotting and closing the wound. This is why it is called a tick bite rather than a tick bite. The animals need a lot of time to suck themselves full. For adult ticks, this can last up to eight days. Thereby they swell up. Grow to more than one centimeter in size.
Tick protection: long clothing and DEET or Icaridin sprays
So for prevention, wear long pants when walking in the woods and tuck the ends of your pant legs into your socks. Tick sprays with DEET and icaridin are only effective in combination with other protective measures, warn consumer advocates. Hours can pass before the tick bites: often enough time to discover it. After an outing, you should shake out your clothes. Search the body for ticks – even in hidden places. Protection against tick bites and infections include:
Light-colored clothing carry, which covers the skin as completely as possible. Shirt in the pants. Tuck trouser legs into socks. Anti-tick medication (repellent) with the active ingredients DEET or Icaridin to be applied to the skin. Important here: Reapply the agents every two to three hours. The eight-hour protection promised by some manufacturers is not realistic. Tick tweezers, tick pliers or Tick card to take with you for safe removal. Shake out clothes, It's best to place it above the light-colored bathtub, so the ticks are easily visible. Search body for ticksAlso take a close look at protected skin areas such as armpits, belly button, scalp, groin or the genital area. – Timely TBE vaccination When traveling to high-risk areas: Three vaccinations are usually required for full vaccine protection.
Removing ticks: best with tweezers, pliers or a card
A tick that has bitten the skin must be removed as soon as possible. To do this, grasp the tick with pointed tweezers or special tick forceps just above the skin and pull it out completely. Shake gently. The removal is especially easy with a so-called tick card. Both tools are available in pharmacies. If no tool is available, work with fingernails or a thread. If available, use a magnifying glass. Do not squeeze or press the body of the animal. Do not kill the animal before removing it. Thoroughly disinfect the bite site afterwards and mark or photograph it to help identify any redness later on.
Diseases caused by tick bites: Lyme disease and TBE
The tick bite itself is not dangerous for humans, but pathogens can be transmitted: among others, the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which can cause Lyme disease, as well as the virus for early summer meningoencephalitis (FSME). The risk of transmission is initially very low, but increases significantly after twelve hours of sucking time. Then the animal is already noticeably swollen.
Lyme disease: Look for wandering redness after tick bite
Wandering redness on the skin is a typical sign of Lyme disease, which should be shown to a doctor.
Lyme disease is widespread and occurs throughout Germany – according to estimates, several tens of thousands of people contract it each year. With regional variations, infected ticks pass on the bacterium to up to 5.6 percent of those bitten. According to the Robert Koch Institute, a maximum of 1.4 percent of those bitten contract Lyme disease.
Symptoms are varied and usually start like the flu with fatigue, joint pain, muscle aches, fever or night sweats. As a complication neuroborreliosis with nerve pain and paralysis can occur. Diagnosis of the disease is often difficult. If infected persons have formed antibodies, these can be detected by a blood test.
A sure sign of Lyme disease is the so-called wandering redness, which appears in about 90 percent of infections – even weeks later – around the puncture site and increases in size. Such spots should be shown to a doctor immediately. A diagnosed Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics. Currently, there is no vaccination against the disease. But researchers are currently developing a vaccine for early detection.
TBE risk areas: Vaccination protects against meningitis
About ten days after infection with TBE, symptoms appear that initially resemble those of the flu with aching limbs, headache and fever. In around ten percent of those affected, the meninges then become inflamed, and in severe cases the brain and spinal cord are also affected. Mostly the disease heals completely without therapy. However, it can be fatal in older or weakened people. Because it is a viral disease, antibiotics remain ineffective.
There is a multi-stage vaccination against TBE, which provides good protection, but must be refreshed regularly. Anyone vacationing in risk areas should think about TBE vaccination protection in good time.
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