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Tips for dealing with tick bites: Increased risk from ticks due to late summer
Many people who are currently enjoying the beautiful weather run the risk of getting a tick bite in some areas. This can have serious consequences. Because of the late beginning of summer, the TBE network warns, the risk of early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE) has increased significantly.
TBE vaccination Moist weather in Germany for months and the ensuing rather late beginning of summer caused the tick population to explode, thereby helping to increase the risk of early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE) in many areas of Germany. About five percent of the ticks carry the dangerous pathogen. Although the name suggests that the disease only occurs in early summer, infections in Central Europe can occur all year round, with the exception of the cold winter months. In contrast to Lyme disease (which is also transmitted mainly by ticks), there has been vaccination protection against this viral infection for several years. a. for prophylaxis. According to TBE network co-founder Ralph Brodel, the risk of getting tick bites has increased significantly. For example, every twentieth tick is contaminated with the pathogen and the areas in which there is danger would expand significantly. Neurologist Frank Erbguth from the Nuremberg Clinic explains that in contrast to Lyme disease, which can be treated with antibiotics, only symptoms can be alleviated with TBE.
Only vaccination offers almost complete protection. Erbguth therefore advises: “If you want to be safe, you should do it.” Vaccination offers protection for up to 50 years old and up to five years for younger people. And even though the vaccination morale tends to decrease in older people, around 16 to 20 percent of people in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg have made provision for it. In the two federal states there is one of the highest threats in Germany.
Correct handling of tick bites If a tick bite, commonly known as a tick bite, is already too late for protection against TBE, rapid removal of the bloodsucker is no longer helpful. After a bite, the pathogens that sit in the salivary glands of the arachnids reach the human body immediately. Therefore, it is ideal to protect yourself from being stung at all. The best way to protect yourself is to wear long trousers and tops with long sleeves when you are outdoors, to make it difficult for ticks to get on your skin. Since the parasites can spread various other diseases in addition to TBE, it is always advisable to handle them carefully after a bite. After each stay in nature you should search your body for the animals. Pay particular attention to the armpits, the back of the knees, the neck and the head, because they like to suck themselves tight.
If you quickly notice a tick and remove it quickly, there is hardly any risk, at least for Lyme disease, since the pathogens are in the stomach and intestines of the arachnids and only get into the wound after 12 to 24 hours, according to the Lower Saxony / Bremen Association Johanniter accident aid. When removing, it is important to touch the tick as close to the skin as possible, loosen it and slowly pull it upwards. This works best with a tick card or tweezers.
Southern Germany particularly affected The TBE risk areas are mainly located in the southern part of the Republic. Erbguth and Brodel explained that there is also a risk of infection in almost all of Franconia. The neighboring country of Austria is considered a tick endemic area, although the TBE in the Alps is limited to the larger valleys. It is noteworthy that despite the widespread prevalence, relatively few people develop TBE, which is due to the high vaccination rate of around 90%. In Germany, only 195 TBE cases were identified last year, but science journalist Ralph Brodel warns against playing "Russian Roulette": "Almost everyone in the TBE network had only one tick bite." Once you are infected, you can be infected no longer affect the course of the disease. Disruption of consciousness, permanent paralysis and in rare cases even death can be the dramatic consequences.
Personal suffering The chair of the TBE network, Evelyn Bachmann, had to experience first-hand how suddenly a tick bite can change life so far. In the middle of June 2006 she was walking with dogs and wiped a tick off her calf without thinking about it. A few days later, the then 44-year-old got a headache. The now 51-year-old recalls: "At first I thought that I might have summer flu." But then the complaints became more violent: "I suddenly saw only asterisks and could no longer walk and speak." She was suspected taken to the hospital for a clot and three days later a blood test diagnosed TBE. "It was a nightmare. I just groaned. Nobody wants these states of fear, ”says Bachmann. It took a few painful months for her to find her way back to normal life. She explains: “I was lucky. I have a strong immune system. ”However, she still has to struggle with the consequences of the disease. For example, she avoids long car journeys, because after three hours at the latest they force poor concentration to take a break. Ms. Bachmann founded the TBE network in 2009, after suffering the illness herself, in order to exchange ideas and support others. (ad)
Image: Urs Flükiger / pixelio.de