Expert tips: Protection against ticks on green areas and in the garden
Ticks can transmit dangerous infectious diseases such as Lyme disease and early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE). Therefore, it is repeatedly pointed out how important it is to protect yourself from ticks. Experts have some good tips for this.
Carrier of dangerous diseases
Ticks can carry many more pathogens, but in Germany the TBE viruses and the borrelia almost exclusively play a role. While the latter are widespread nationwide, the former were until recently restricted to southern Germany. But according to experts, TBE risk areas in Germany are increasing rapidly. The disease has meanwhile also become a growing danger in northern Germany. The Hessian areas south of the Main have also been classified as TBE risk areas for some time. The City Health Office in Offenbach therefore provides information on ticks and the diseases that can transmit them and gives tips on how to protect yourself.
Active from an outside temperature of around eight degrees Celsius
As the experts explain, ticks are arachnids and are blood-sucking parasites. Different species live in this country. The most common tick in Germany is the woodbuck (Ixodes ricinus).
The crawling animals occur in the Federal Republic in all areas up to a height of about 2,000 meters in the wild (forest, bushes, meadows), but also in inner-city parks and gardens.
They become active from an outside temperature of around eight degrees Celsius and sting especially in the morning and early evening. The actual “tick season” is from March to October.
Favorable stitches for blood sucking
The ticks sitting in the grass and on leaves recognize possible victims from vibrations, body heat and fragrances.
People and animals passing by strip off the animals. So you don't let them fall from the trees, as is often assumed.
The parasites look for a convenient sting spot for sucking blood. These are mainly regions of the body such as the hollow of the knee, groin, armpit or hairline, i.e. moist, warm areas.
Lyme disease and TBE
The ticks occurring in Germany can predominantly transmit two diseases:
On the one hand, Lyme disease, a bacterial disease that can be treated with suitable antibiotics.
However, if the disease remains undetected and untreated, it can lead to chronic damage to the heart, nerves and joints, among other things, and, in the worst case, to death.
There is no vaccine against the disease.
On the other hand, the bloodsuckers can transmit TBE (abbreviation for early summer meningo-encephalitis), a meningitis-brain inflammation and viral disease.
According to health experts, the disease can be particularly severe in older people and, in extreme cases, can be fatal.
No drugs are available against TBE itself, only the symptoms can be treated. There is also a preventive vaccination.
What to do with a tick bite?
As the Offenbach City Health Office explains, a tick that is still wandering can simply be removed by hand. The animal, however, cannot defend itself by bites, as it takes time to saw through the skin.
A sucked tick should always be removed with your fingertips as soon as possible after tweezers or a tick card or pliers, or if none of these aids are available.
This is done by grasping the tick's body as close as possible to the skin, loosening it carefully and slowly pulling it away from the injection site.
The tick must never be squeezed, otherwise its infectious secretions can get into the human body.
According to the experts, the use of "home remedies" such as oil, nail polish or glue must be avoided. If possible, disinfect the puncture site with high-proof alcohol, for example.
Protect from ticks
Preventive vaccination offers the best protection against TBE. The City Health Office Offenbach has even more tips on how to protect yourself from ticks and the diseases transmitted by the animals:
For example, when you are outdoors, especially when walking through the undergrowth or a meadow, you should wear clothing that is as light as possible (ticks on the clothing are easier to see), which completely covers the body - and sturdy shoes.
In addition, tick-repellent skin protection agents, which, however, have a limited effectiveness, can be used.
Nevertheless, the most important measure should not be forgotten even when wearing long clothing: After a stay outdoors, the entire body and clothing should be checked thoroughly for ticks.
Important to know: For example, the animals can walk along the clothes on the way home to find a free skin area.
Tick bites are not perceived by humans
Direct sunlight does not like ticks. Those who prefer to roam the meadows barefoot and / or with short skirts or trousers should know that the ticks usually search for a time for them for a while.
As long as they still move along the skin, they can be easily removed. However, the crawling animals prefer places like the hollow of the knee, which can only be seen with a helper or in the mirror, or the groin region, where they are hidden under the clothing.
The tick bite is not perceived by humans because the animal has a narcotic.
Ticks can also occur in your own garden, as ticks can infect living animals such as mice, hedgehogs, dogs or cats, and a fully sucked tick that falls into the garden can release many offspring.
Therefore, pets should be checked for ticks after a corresponding stay and the ticks removed.
In addition, you should always keep the removed bloodsuckers, because if the animal shows symptoms of the disease after the bite, which may indicate Lyme disease, for example, an examination of the tick for relevant pathogens can provide important clues.
Since ticks like it moist and shady, it is helpful to keep the lawn in the garden short. (ad)