Disease vector: what to do in the case of a tick bite?

Disease vector: what to do in the case of a tick bite?

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Little bloodsuckers: how best to react to a tick bite
Protect yourself from ticks particularly well in the summer months. The little bloodsuckers are not only found in forests and meadows, but also at home in many gardens. They can transmit dangerous diseases like Lyme disease or TBE. Health experts explain how to react to a tick bite.

Carrier of dangerous diseases
If you are outside in the summer months, you should keep an eye on the protection against ticks. The little bloodsuckers are currently in high season. They can transmit dangerous diseases such as Lyme disease or early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE). The latter is "mainly transmitted in southern Germany", writes the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on its website. Lyme disease occurs nationwide. Experts explain how best to protect yourself from the crawling animals and what to do after a tick bite.

Ticks also lurk in urban gardens
Ticks don't just lurk in the forest and meadows, they also feel good in the garden. Even in some cities they are very common.

The University of Hohenheim reported in a communication that "ticks were found in 60 percent of all gardens".

Although their investigations were limited to the Stuttgart area, "we can assume that the results can be transferred to other cities," said Prof. Dr. Ute Mackenstedt from the University of Hohenheim.

“Anyone who steps out the front door is in the tick's habitat,” says the expert.

TBE can be fatal in extreme cases
Of the various diseases that can be transmitted by ticks, TBE is one of the most dangerous. The disease can be severe, especially in older people. Symptoms appear in about a third of those infected.

First, there are flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting and dizziness.

Some patients also develop meningitis and cerebral inflammation with the risk of spinal cord damage. In extreme cases, the disease is fatal.

No drugs are 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 can include reddening of the skin, fever, muscle and headaches and even paralysis. Some complaints can only appear after months.

If the disease remains undetected and untreated, it can lead to chronic damage to the heart, nerves and joints, among other things.

There is no vaccine against the disease. Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics.

Vaccination for people from risk groups
Vaccination against TBE is available. Vaccination protection is recommended by the Standing Vaccination Committee (STIKO) and other health experts for people who are often outside in TBE risk areas.

Vaccination also makes sense for people working in nature, such as forestry workers or farmers, and for holidaymakers who travel to TBE risk areas.

The RKI offers an overview of TBE risk areas in Germany on its website. These are mainly located in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg - but also in places in Thuringia, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate or the Saarland.

Protect as well as possible from ticks
Some people think that ticks fall from the trees. But that's not true. The little creepy crawlers sit mainly in the grass, bushes or undergrowth.

Rainer Schretzmann from aid infodienst has a good tip for protecting himself from ticks: "Wear sturdy shoes and long trousers that are put in the socks". This makes skin contact more difficult. Special insect sprays can also keep the little animals away.

After an excursion in the forest, meadow or along heavily overgrown streams, one should search for clothing and the whole body for ticks. "Especially in the crotch, in the armpits, elbow bends and back of the knees, the blood suckers like to stay," says Schretzmann.

Act quickly after tick bite
If you notice ticks on the body, you should remove them quickly, preferably with tweezers. If the animal has already sucked in, it is important that "as far as possible all parts of the tick are removed to avoid inflammation," writes the RKI.

"To do this, grasp the tick with a pair of tweezers or a special tick removal tool near the surface of the skin, i.e. on your mouth tools (never on the fully soaked body!), And pull it slowly and straight out of your skin," it continues.

The tick should “not be rotated as far as possible and under no circumstances may it be drizzled with oil or adhesive before removal. This would irritate the animal unnecessarily and could lead to its saliva and thus possible infectious agents being released ”.

After the tick has been removed, careful disinfection of the wound is recommended. According to health experts, the risk of contracting Lyme disease or TBE is low overall.

However, if you notice a reddening of the skin at the injection site after a tick bite, you should see a doctor immediately. Because this is an indication of Lyme disease. Then antibiotic treatment is required. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: How the Tick Immune System Works (August 2022).