Dangerous disease carriers: protect against ticks even in winter
Some people think that ticks are generally not active in winter. However, this is a fallacy. The little animals start looking for a host after a few mild days. Ticks can transmit infectious diseases such as TBE and Lyme disease. Some tips can help to protect yourself from the bloodsuckers.
Carrier of dangerous diseases
Health experts keep pointing out how important it is to protect yourself from ticks. The little bloodsuckers can finally transmit dangerous infectious diseases such as early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE) or Lyme disease. What many are not aware of: ticks can also be active in the winter months.
Mild winter hardly limits ticks
The relatively mild winter hardly limits ticks in their activity. Protective measures are therefore also recommended now, explains Dr. Utta Petzold, allergist at the health insurance company Barmer, in a current message.
“Many people think that ticks are generally inactive in winter. But that is a fallacy. Because they can not only survive frost quite well, but start looking for a host after a few mild days. You should protect yourself against this, ”says Petzold.
In winter, the insects seek protection mainly under thick layers of leaves lying on the ground and in the undergrowth. But cats and dogs could also bring unwanted bloodsuckers from outside as early as January and February.
The ticks would be active from temperatures of around seven degrees Celsius.
This is how you can protect yourself
You can protect yourself with the long clothes that are typical for winter. Bright colors make sense because they make it easier to see the little crawlers. Sturdy shoes and socks pulled over the legs of the legs made it difficult for ticks to enter.
Essential oils from basil, mint or lavender, for example, only worked in a sufficiently high concentration and were therefore usually too short. In addition to such natural agents, there are artificially produced solutions, sprays or emulsions.
No matter which means you choose, it is always important to pay attention to the duration of action and to add more under certain circumstances.
"After outdoor activities, you should also search the body thoroughly for ticks, especially soft and warm areas such as armpits, hollow of the knees or groin," advises Petzold.
Act quickly after a tick bite
If you notice ticks on your body, you need to be in a hurry. The animal should be removed as soon as possible.
It is important that "as far as possible all parts of the tick are removed to avoid inflammation," writes the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on its website.
"To do this, grab 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 should 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.
Examine pets for ticks
Pets that have stayed in nature also need special attention.
If a tick is sucked into them, it must be carefully removed and always kept, as an examination of the insect for possible pathogens enables the veterinarian to treat it effectively.
Souvenirs from the forest or the meadow should also be carefully examined. Because many beautifully shaped pieces of wood have turned out to be “home” for a tick, according to Petzold. (ad)