Repelling troubling ticks: How to avoid tick bites
If you’ve been outdoors recently, you may have come across unwanted, small, pesky ticks (zecken). In Germany, these tiny arachnids have been on the rise. Since 2017, 500 cases of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) have been recorded in Germany, making it the second highest recording ever. Out of these cases, 85 percent of these incidents were found in the southern part of the country, which includes areas such as Bavaria, Baden Wüttermberg and Stuttgart. However, they have been found more in the northern part as well.
According to the CDC, TBE is a human viral infectious disease that involves the central nervous system. This disease may lead to meningitis, which is transmitted through tick bites. Although Lyme Disease is more common in North America, TBE is prevalent in Europe.
With outdoor activities such as hiking, running and cycling calling our name for the summer season, it’s important to steer clear from these unwanted creatures. Check out these tips for avoiding tick bites:
· Cover yourself, especially your legs and arms. Though this may be difficult to do in the warm, summer days, it is suggested to not expose these areas. Also, be sure to tuck your pants into your socks and wear light-color clothing in order to easily detect these ticks.
· Before you get in the car or your home, check yourself or have someone else check you for ticks. They love to stay in damp, moist places. Running a fine-tooth comb through your hair may be useful.
· Use a good insect repellant. Among the experts, DEET is considered the best one.
· When venturing into the woods, be sure to stay in the center of the trail. Ticks normally stay in shrubs and bushes.
· Shower as soon as possible when returning from the outdoors. It’s also helpful to wash your clothes immediately.
· For pet owners, check your dogs! Lately, many of my friends who own dogs have told me how many ticks they’ve seen on their fur baby after a hike. Make sure to check for ticks before coming indoors.
However, in the event that you do find one on you…
· Remain calm. Ticks are more likely to spread the infection after two to three days.
· Remove it as soon as possible before it reaches your bloodstream. You can use normal tweezers, but special ones can be purchased. For proper removal, grasp the mouth part of the tick with tweezers and get as close to the skin as possible. Never squeeze the tick!
· Look out for a rash that resembles a “bullseye” and go to your doctor to get the bite examined.
While there is no known medical treatment in preventing the TBE virus, vaccines are provided and are recommended for residents who reside in southern Germany.
This summer, prevent your family and furry kids from the annoying little “bugs” we call ticks!