Ticks Time So you can protect yourself from the annoying bloodsuckers
At the moment you have to be very careful about ticks. The little bloodsuckers are now in high season. Through a bite, they can transmit serious illnesses such as Lyme disease or FSME. Experts explain how best to protect yourself from the crawlies and what to do after a tick bite.
Ticks are now in high season
Sunbathing, cozy barbecues, gardening and long walks: In the summer months most Germans want to spend as much time outdoors as possible. But there are also threats of health dangers right now. Because ticks have their high season in June and July. The little bloodsuckers can transmit dangerous diseases. What many do not know: Ticks are found not only in forests and meadows, but also in gardens and in cities. Experts explain how best to protect yourself from the crawlies.
Carriers of dangerous diseases
Ticks are not only lurking in the woods and meadows, they also feel good in the garden. Even in some cities they are very common.
The small bloodsuckers can transmit dangerous infectious diseases such as tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) or Lyme disease. Experts therefore repeatedly point out the importance of protecting themselves from ticks.
What many people are unaware of is that the animals have meanwhile also spread in big cities. The University of Hohenheim reported in a statement that "in 60 percent of all gardens ticks" were detected.
Although their investigations were confined to the Stuttgart area, "we can assume that the results can be transferred to other cities," explained Prof. Dr. med. Ute Mackenstedt from the University of Hohenheim.
"The one who steps out the front door is in the habitat of the ticks," says the expert.
TBE can be fatal in extreme cases
Of the various tick-borne diseases, TBE is considered one of the most dangerous. Especially in older people, the disease can be difficult. About one third of the infected people have symptoms of illness.
First, there are flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting and dizziness.
Some patients also develop meningitis and encephalitis with the risk of spinal cord damage. In extreme cases, the disease is fatal.
There are no drugs available against TBE itself, only the symptoms can be treated.
Lyme disease occurs nationwide
In addition to TBE, ticks can also transmit Lyme disease. This disease caused by bacteria occurs in all parts of Germany.
Symptoms may include redness, fever, muscle and headache, to paralysis. Some complaints can occur only after months.
If the disease remains unrecognized and untreated, it can lead to chronic damage to, among other things, the heart, nerves and joints.
There is no vaccine against the disease. Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics.
Vaccination for people from risk groups
Against TBE, a vaccine is available. The Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) and other health professionals recommend vaccination coverage to people who often spend time outdoors in TBE risk areas.
Also for people working in the nature like forestry workers or farmers as well as for tourists, who travel in TBE risk areas abroad, a vaccination makes sense.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) offers on its website an overview of TBE risk areas in Germany. These are mainly in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg - but also in places in Thuringia, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate or the Saarland.
Information about a TBE risk abroad can be found in the Foreign Office travel safety information.
Protect as well as possible from ticks
Some people think that ticks fall from the trees. But that's not true. The little crawlies are mostly in the grass, bushes or undergrowth.
Rainer Schretzmann from aid infodienst has a good tip to protect against ticks: "Wear sturdy shoes and long trousers that are put into socks". This makes skin contact more difficult. Also special insect sprays can keep the small animals away.
After a trip in the woods, meadows or heavily overgrown creeks you should search the clothes and the whole body for ticks. "Especially in crotch, in the armpits, elbows and hollows of the knees, the bloodsuckers like to keep up," says Schretzmann.
Act fast after tick bite
If you notice ticks on the body, you should remove them quickly with tape. Or with tweezers.
If the animal has already sucked in, it is important that "as far as possible all parts of the tick are removed in order to avoid an inflammation", writes the RKI on its website.
"To do this, you grab the tick with a pair of tweezers or a special tick-removing instrument near the surface of the skin, ie on your mouthparts (never on the soaked body!) And pull it out of the skin slowly and straight," it continues.
The tick should not be turned as far as possible and under no circumstances should it be drizzled with oil or glue before being removed. This would unnecessarily irritate the animal and could cause it to release its saliva and thus possible infectious agents ".
After removal of the tick, careful disinfection of the wound is recommended.
According to health experts, you do not have to go to the doctor after every tick bite. The risk of contracting Lyme disease or TBE is low overall.
Anyone who notices after the bite of a tick, however, that a skin redness occurs at the injection site, should immediately go to the doctor. Because this is an indication of Lyme disease. Then a treatment with antibiotics is required. (Ad)