6 dangerous misconceptions about ticks that you should be aware of (I have spoken with infectologists)

Hello Proof of Brain and Hive!

Because the topic is relevant, I have spoken with infectologists about ticks, and I decided to write down the most important parts of our conversations.

Good weather not only lures us out of the house, but also wakes up the ticks.

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org.

With the pleasant weather, we are spending more and more time in nature, with thousands of hikers visiting popular hiking destinations every weekend. But there's one little stowaway that none of us like to bring home from a day of wandering or even from the garden or the yard.

Experience shows that the tick season peaks around May and June. In Hungary, there are many infested areas, but not all specimens are infectious. Nevertheless, after a hike or an afternoon outdoors, we should check ourselves and our family members thoroughly.

It's not the sting that causes trouble

Ticks don't cause trouble by biting, but by introducing various viruses and bacteria into your body through their saliva when they suck blood. It is important that if you find a tick inside you, you remove it as soon as possible! It is even more important to protect yourself against them by wearing the right clothing, using tick repellent and vaccinating against the diseases.

Image source: https://upload.wikimedia.org.

Vaccination won't keep the insect away, and it won't prevent Lyme disease, one of the most common infectious diseases, but it will protect against the most dangerous tick-borne disease, infectious meningitis. The vaccine is mainly recommended for people who spend long periods of time outdoors in the woods, whether it's a summer children's camp or a permanent workplace. The first vaccination should be given in winter or early spring, with the second vaccination due in a month's time, after which protection is established.

The 6 most common misconceptions

  • Ticks jump/splash on us from trees.

Ticks do not climb trees and do not like sunny, dry environments. Dark, high humidity bush or dense undergrowth is the most common habitat.

  • The tick should be twisted counterclockwise and then released from the skin, easy to remove.

The tick does not need to be twisted. If you don't have tweezers specially made for this purpose, use a pair of tweezers to grip the tick and pull it out of the skin with one firm movement.

  • The tick should be coated with oil, butter or glue to suffocate it and then it can be easily removed.

Avoid any solution that involves choking, gagging or squeezing the tick, because this increases the risk of infection!

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org.

  • If the tick's head is broken during removal, be sure to remove it!

If the tick's mouthparts (not the head) are still visible to the naked eye, do not pick at them as this will only cause irritation and an inflammatory reaction. Our body will expel it unnoticed within a short time.

  • Disinfection reduces the risk of infection!

Surface treatment is ineffective in preventing tick-borne infections, but disinfection does not hurt, especially if the bite site is bleeding or has a lack of epithelium.

  • Vaccination protects against all tick-borne diseases.

The vaccine known as the tick vaccine does not prevent tick bites and its active ingredient only protects against tick-borne encephalitis. There is no specific drug therapy to treat this, so it can be prevented by avoiding the bite or by vaccination to prevent the disease.

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