Ticks Now protect against tick bites
Tips for dealing with tick bites: Increased danger from ticks due to late summer beginning
Many people who currently enjoy the beautiful weather, in some areas in the risk of getting a tick bite. This can have serious consequences. Because of the late summer beginning, the TBE network warns, the danger of an early-summer Meningoenzephalitis (TBE) has increased significantly.
For months, damp weather in Germany and the resulting rather late summer beginning have caused the ticks population to explode and thus contributed to the fact that in many areas of Germany the risk of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) has increased significantly. The dangerous pathogens carry around five percent of the ticks. Although the name suggests that the disease only occurs in early summer, infections in Central Europe may well occur throughout the year, with the exception of cold winter months. In contrast to Lyme disease (which is also mainly transmitted by ticks), vaccination protection against this viral infection has existed for some years. There are also some remedies in natural medicine. a. for prophylaxis, available. According to FSME network co-founder Ralph Brodel, the risk of tick bites has increased significantly. For example, every twentieth tick is burdened with the pathogen and the areas in danger would expand significantly. The neurologist Frank Erbguth of the Nuremberg Clinic explains that in contrast to Lyme disease, which can be treated with antibiotics, in TBE only the symptoms can be alleviated.
Only one vaccine offers almost complete protection. Erbguth advises therefore: „If you want to be sure, you should do it.“ In the case of over-50s, vaccination provides protection for up to three years and for younger people up to five years. And even though vaccination morals tend to decrease among older people, about 16 to 20 percent of people in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg have taken precautions. In the two federal states, the highest risk exists in Germany.
Proper handling of tick bites
If it comes to a tick bite, colloquially called also tick bite, it is already too late for a protection against FSME, since also a quick removal of the blood sucker does not help anymore. For in a sting, the pathogens that sit in the salivary glands of the arachnids immediately enter the human body. Therefore, ideally protect yourself from being stung at all. It's best to protect yourself by wearing long-sleeved trousers and long-sleeved tops to make it harder for the ticks to get to your skin. Since the parasites in addition to FSME can also spread various other diseases, it is always advisable to handle it carefully after a sting. After each stay in nature you should search your body for the animals. It is especially important to pay attention to the armpits, knees, neck and head, because they like to suck.
If you quickly notice a tick and quickly removed, there is little danger for Lyme disease, as the pathogens are in the stomach and intestines of the arachnids and only after 12 to 24 hours in the wound, said the National Association of Lower Saxony / Bremen Johanniter accident assistance. When removing it, it is important to touch the tick as close as possible to the skin, loosen it and slowly pull it out to the top. This is best done with a tick card or tweezers.
Especially southern Germany affected
The TBE risk areas are mainly in the southern part of the republic. Erbguth and Brodel explained that there is also a risk of infection in almost all of Franconia. The neighboring country of Austria is considered a complete tick-endemic area, whereby the FSME in the Alps is limited to the larger valleys. It is noteworthy that, despite their widespread use, relatively few people suffer from TBE, which is due to the high vaccination coverage rate of around 90%. Although only 195 cases of TBE were diagnosed in Germany last year, the science journalist Ralph Brodel warns against this, „Russian roulette“ to play: „Almost all in the TBE network had only one tick bite.“ Once infected, the course of the disease can no longer be influenced. Awareness disorders, permanent paralysis and, in rare cases, even death can be the dramatic consequences.
The chairman of the TBE network, Evelyn Bachmann, had to experience on her own body how suddenly a tick bite can change the past life. In the middle of June 2006, she was walking with dogs and wiping a tick from her calf, without thinking of anything. A few days later, the then 44-year-old got a headache. The now 51-year-old remembers: „At first I thought that maybe I had a summer flu.“ But then the complaints became more violent: „Suddenly I saw only asterisks and could not walk and talk anymore.“ She was taken to the hospital with suspected brain clots, and three days later, a blood test resulted in the diagnosis of TBE. „It was a nightmare. I just moaned. One does not want these states of anxiety to anyone“, so Bachmann. It took some painful months to find her way back to normal life. She explains: „I was lucky. I have a strong immune system.“ However, she still has to contend with the consequences of the disease today. For example, it avoids longer car journeys, because at the latest after three hours they force concentration weaknesses to a break. Ms. Bachmann founded the TBE network in 2009, after suffering the disease herself, to share and support other stakeholders. (Ad)
Image: Urs Flükiger