Ticks become active
Rising temperature makes ticks mobile
With the rising temperature, the ticks are gradually becoming active again, so that a suitable tick protection should be considered when staying in nature. In the months of May and June, the ticks are increasingly traveling and looking for a host. In the course of a tick bite, the blood-sucking crawlers can transmit infectious diseases such as Lyme disease or an early-summer meningoencephalitis (virally-induced meningitis).
The numbers of infections in the diseases transmitted by a tick bite have caused increasing concern among experts in Germany in recent years, and some federal states have already been forced to adopt more far-reaching measures. For example, Bavaria has issued a notification obligation for Lyme disease from the first of March, „to gain further insights into the occurrence and regional distribution of this disease“, This is the official communication from the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety. According to the authorities, Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne infectious disease in Germany with an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 new cases a year.
Tick protection when staying outdoors
To ward off the tiny bloodsuckers, according to the consensus opinion of all experts in a stay in nature especially pay attention to body-covering clothing. Sturdy shoes, long pants with tight cuffs or in the socks are recommended here. In addition, it is also possible to use what are known as insect repellents or ticks (tanning agents), the effects of which however often being clearly limited. Bright clothing makes it easier to find ticks after spending time in nature. Ideally, these are already discovered before they begin to suck blood. At the latest when returning to nature, the body should be thoroughly scanned for ticks to promptly detect and remove them. Because the longer the animals are stuck, the higher is the risk of transmission of pathogens in the opinion of the experts.
If ticks are caught, they should be removed immediately with a pair of fine tweezers or special tweezers. Contusion of the animals are urgently to avoid, since otherwise they empty their stomach contents including pathogens in the open wound. Rotary movements when removing the ticks are also to be omitted, because the head of the animals easily tear off, get stuck in the wound and in the worst case can cause inflammation of the puncture site.
With regard to Lyme disease, the Bavarian State Health Office hopes not only to gain insights into where infections are particularly prevalent in Bavaria and which population groups are at particular risk, but also to answer the question as to whether Lyme disease is increasing as a result of climate change. Based on the newly gained knowledge, the health authorities can subsequently „educate the population in a targeted manner and sensitize the medical profession as well“, so the message of the State Health Office. (Fp)
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Image: Tamara Hoffmann