Health: The time of ticks has started

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Health experts recommend protective measures in the beginning tick season

Experts have repeatedly warned in the past few weeks that the ticks will become active again with the warmer weather. By observing a few basic rules, however, the risk of a tick bite and the risk of disease transmission can be minimized, emphasized the head of the health department at the Unterallgäuer district office, Dr. Wolfgang Glasmann, opposite the newspaper "Augsburger Allgemeine".

Since diseases such as Lyme disease or early summer meningoencephalitis (inflammation of the brain / meninges) can also be transmitted through a tick bite (also known as a tick bite), people who often work outdoors or spend their free time should pay particular attention to certain protective rules, experts warn . The details are crucial not only to prevent tick bites but also to remove attached ticks in order to minimize the risk.

Risk of tick bites varies widely across Germany First, it should be noted that the main health risk of a tick bite is the transmission of dangerous pathogens - especially Lyme disease and early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE). However, the risk of a TBE disease after a tick bite is extremely different in the different regions of Germany. According to Dr. Glasmann is currently 136 of the 440 counties and independent cities in Germany classified as TBE risk areas. Since 1998, the number of these risk areas has doubled from 63 at the time, the expert emphasized. According to the doctor in southern Germany, the risk of a TBE disease due to a tick bite is particularly high. "In southern Germany, the cases are concentrated, in northern Germany there are practically none," explained Dr. Glasmann. Most TBE risk areas extend across Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and parts of Thuringia.

Appropriate clothing helps to protect against ticks Contrary to popular belief that ticks can be dropped from trees, the little bloodsuckers usually wait for their victims in meadows, grass and bushes. According to the expert, the ticks feel particularly well climatically in areas with high humidity. Usually the small arachnids crawl up the blades of grass and as soon as a person or animal roams by, the ticks stick. The most common type of tick in Europe is the common wooden goat, which is also the main carrier of the TBE. To protect yourself from tick bites when you are outdoors, experts recommend body-covering clothing - long-sleeved tops and long trousers with closed cuffs and sturdy shoes. When you return, the whole body should be thoroughly searched for the little bloodsuckers. Often, the ticks do not bite too hard immediately, but wander over the body and look for soft skin folds such as the back of the knees, armpits or the groin area, the specialist emphasized.

Removing ticks with narrow tweezers or tick tongs Anyone who discovers a tick bite should best remove the attached bloodsucker with a pair of narrow tweezers or tick tongs, the experts advise. Acting quickly minimizes the risk of Lyme disease or TBE disease, because according to Dr. Experience has shown that Glasmann can hardly transmit any pathogens in the first 24 hours after the tick bite. Treatment of the tick with oil or glue, as well as twisting or bruising of the animal during removal, should be avoided, because otherwise pathogens will be expelled into the wound. It is also important to ensure that the tick is completely removed in order to keep the risk of transmission as low as possible and to avoid inflammation. If you don't trust yourself to remove the tick, you should seek help from a doctor, explained Dr. The specialist also recommends observing the injection site in the first few weeks after the tick bite. A striking reddening of the bite wound could indicate inflammation, but a gradually spreading red spot around the wound is a typical sign of Lyme disease, the expert emphasized. In both cases, according to Dr. Glasmann also called in a doctor.

TBE due to tick bite - urgently seek medical advice if there is a symptom. The risk of infection from a tick bite is particularly high, as digestible food residues of the blood are released into the wound of the host during the suction process. Thus, Lyme disease and TBE diseases threaten with extremely long-term health consequences. Recently Dr. Reinhard Kaiser, chief physician of neurology at the Pforzheim City Clinic at a press conference at the University of Hohenheim reports that “about 70 percent (…) of protracted complications suffer from FSME patients”. The initially flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and body ache can be followed by massive health impairments such as paralysis, breathing problems, loss of consciousness, speech and balance disorders, as well as coma or death of the patient if treatment is not carried out. According to the neurologist, "half of the patients (...) also suffer from paralysis, poor breathing, balance problems or swallowing and speech disorders ten years after the infection". In addition, 30 percent of the study participants in a long-term study died within ten years of the consequences of early summer meningoencephalitis, said Dr. Reinhard Kaiser.

Risk of chronic Lyme disease after a tick bite According to the experts, the risk of Lyme disease transmitted by ticks should not be underestimated. Lyme disease with antibiotics is relatively easy to treat in the initial phase, but the disease is often not diagnosed as such. There is a risk of a chronic course of the disease, in which the Lyme pathogens begin to spread in the body and can cause numerous other symptoms such as changing joint pain, disturbances of the sense of touch, visual disturbances and heart problems the experts warn the central and peripheral nervous system. Typical for borreliosis is the so-called wandering blush, which usually only manifests as a large red spot around the tick bite, but can migrate on the body as the disease progresses. If you notice signs of Lyme disease after a tick bite, you should also urgently see a doctor. (fp)

Also read:
The best way to remove ticks is with tweezers
TBE and Lyme disease from tick bites
Prevention: Don't panic about ticks
Health: No tick vaccination

Image: Jens Bredehorn /

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