Story by USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs
Because of the corona crisis and the warm weather, many people are spending more time in nature. This year, due to the mild winter, there is a higher amount of ticks than in previous years.
Ticks can transmit two dangerous infectious diseases: early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE) and borreliosis.
Professor Peter Sefrin, Federal Physician of the DRK, provides some tips for behaviour that everyone should consider:
- Choosing the right clothes when you go out in nature. It is important to wear long,
tight-fitting sleeves and trouser legs and generally light-coloured clothing. Socks and closed shoes are also an advantage.
- Walking through tall grass and undergrowth should be avoided.
- After spending time outdoors, search your clothes and skin, especially the back of your knees, armpits, navel, neck, hairline, skin folds and hairy parts of your body," Sefrin continues.
A tick is best removed with tweezers or alternatively with a tick card or tick tweezers from the
pharmacy. Grab the tick as close to the skin as possible with the tweezers and pull it out slowly and vertically.
When using a tick card, lay it flat on the skin, push it with the card cut-out towards the
tick, grasp it under the tick and carefully pull it out vertically.
It is absolutely necessary to avoid twisting movements, as the head can be torn off and the tick’s body can be crushed. This can cause pathogens to be released into the wound.
After subsequent disinfection, dress the puncture site with a quick-action wound dressing. Any household remedies such as oil, glue, nail varnish or petrol are not suitable for removal, on the contrary, they are even dangerous, as ticks secrete more possibly infected secretion when they suffocate.
After a tick bite: Watch for symptoms
If you’ve had a tick bite, you should watch your skin closely. If a red circle forms around the bite, this indicates Lyme disease, which according to Sefrin is more common than TBE.
Unlike TBE, you cannot be vaccinated against Lyme disease. Unlike Lyme disease, there is no safe therapy for TBE.
The symptoms of both diseases are initially similar to those of influenza. Fever, headache and aching limbs can occur. If you observe symptoms, you should see a doctor.