Do you enjoy spending time outdoors? If this is the case, then you are more likely to encounter ticks, and to be bitten by a tick at some point. In fact, ticks are widespread in Europe, and you can easily find them in tall grass, shrubs, trees and leaf piles.
Ticks are not insects that bite you and then leave just as quickly. In general, ticks are attracted to people, as well as their pets, and when a tick gets on your body, it then looks for a place to stick its head and feed. In this case, it can stay there for many days.
But do you know the scariest part? Tick bites rarely cause pain or itching sensations. At first, these bites may look like a spot of dirt on your skin, but this spot will swell as the tick feeds on your blood.
However, tick bites can cause allergic reactions, and some species of ticks can transmit diseases to pets as well as to humans, which can be fatal.
What are ticks?
Like spiders, ticks are bloodsucking arthropods that belong to the class Arachnida. There are more than 800 species of ticks in the world, but only ticks belonging to the hard tick family (Ixodidae) and the soft tick family (Argasidae) can transmit diseases or illnesses.
- Hard ticks cling to the skin, and feed for days. When the tick is full of blood, this is when it tends to transmit diseases. The life cycle of ticks begins in the larval stage and then progresses to the nymphal stage. Finally, the tick, male or female, reaches adulthood.
- Soft ticks have a more rounded shape and, as the name implies, are softer. These ticks feed for less than an hour, but the disease is transmitted in less than a minute.
Many tick-borne diseases have been reported in Europe. Below is a list of the most common tick-borne diseases in the world:
- Lyme disease (borreliosis)
- Recurrent tick fever
- Southern Tick Rash Disease
- Powassan encephalomyelitis
- Q fever
- Colorado Tick Fever
- The Heartland virus
- African Rinderpest
A tick bite may leave a small red patch or bump on the skin. In some people, the tick bite causes a reddening of a few centimeters around the area of the tick bite. This red spot or redness will only get bigger if it is a rash, which is a sign of disease.
The risks and when to consult a doctor
Several factors can put you at risk for tick bites, including:
– when hiking in tall grass, brush, woods or forests when your skin is not covered;
– not wearing clothes that cover the legs, arms and other parts of the body;
– not using insect, flea and tick repellents when you have pets in your home.
See a doctor if the following symptoms occur:
– The bite area shows signs of infection, with the following reactions: swelling, heat, redness, oozing pus.
– The appearance of symptoms such as headaches, fever, neck or back stiffness, fatigue, muscle or joint pain.
– After removing the tick, the head or part of the tick remains in the skin.
How to safely remove a tick?
If you notice a tick on any part of your body, it is important to remove it as soon as possible. We recommend that you follow these steps to safely remove a tick:
– Grab the tick firmly as close to your skin as possible, in other words, at its mouth or head. To do this, use tweezers.
– Pull firmly and steadily until the tick comes off the skin. Be sure not to twist or shake the tick to prevent parts from remaining in the skin.
– Wash your hands with soap and water first, then clean the wound.
– Dab the wound with alcohol.
How to avoid tick-borne diseases in case of a tick bite?
The best way to prevent tick-borne diseases or infections is to avoid tick bites. In this regard, consider the following tips:
– Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when walking in grassy areas or in the woods.
– Walk in the middle of the trails.
– After hiking in tick-prone areas, inspect certain parts of your body, such as: hair, between the legs, under the arms, behind the ears and behind the knees.
– Take a shower after spending time outdoors.
– Use tick repellents.
– Treat equipment and clothing with 0.5% permethrin.
The sooner you identify the presence of a tick and remove it from your body, the less likely you are to contract tick-borne diseases.
On the doctena.com website, you will find a list of specialists that you can consult in order to get the best medical advice and the most appropriate treatments for tick-borne diseases. So, as soon as you notice signs or symptoms of tick bites, schedule an appointment through the Doctena website (doctena.com) for a professional consultation for prompt treatment.
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