Ticks: bloodsuckers with a potential risk

Ticks can transmit Lyme disease or TBE. Where the bloodsuckers lurk and what protects against tick bites. An overview

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All content on the topic of ticks

  • Prevent, detect, and treat early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE)
  • Prevent, detect, and treat Lyme disease
  • How to protect yourself from ticks
  • Correctly removing ticks, treating stings
  • Prevent tick bites with repellents

How to protect yourself from ticks

When going out into nature, clothing should cover the skin as completely as possible. If possible, tuck the trouser legs into the shoes.

Light-colored clothing is cheaper because you can see the ticks better on them.

Prefer smooth fabrics, as the tiny ones find it more difficult to hold on to.

Do not walk barefoot or with open shoes at the edge of the forest, in the forest or on meadows.

Insect repellants can be applied to exposed areas of the skin. They offer some protection for around two to three hours. Ask the pharmacy for advice on which products are best for you. Do not use too often and do not use on babies!

After an excursion, carefully check your skin and clothing for ticks - remove ticks that have already stung quickly.

A pet that spends a lot of time outdoors should also be searched carefully, because the ticks often only hang in the fur and can easily spread to humans. Contact with wild animals as potential tick carriers (hedgehogs, contact with game in the case of hunters) should be avoided.

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How dangerous are ticks?

A tick bite is not tragic in itself, if it weren't for the risk of infectious diseases. In this country these are mainly borreliosis and early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE). Borreliosis is caused by bacteria (Borrelia) and is the most common tick-borne disease in Europe. TBE, a dangerous form of meningitis, is caused by viruses.

Important to know: Not all ticks carry pathogens. If an infected tick bites, it does not necessarily lead to transmission. You can read more about the risk of infection and risk areas in the medical advice for Lyme disease and TBE.

TBE viruses can be passed on within a short time after the tick bite. The transmission of Borrelia usually takes several hours. Removing ticks as early as possible reduces the risk of infection.

Do ticks fall from trees?

The common wood tick - Ixodes ricinus, as the arachnid is called in technical language - lurks outside in the green. This means that the tick normally sits lazily on stalks or the like and waits. If a suitable host comes by - for example a human, a dog or a deer - the tick wakes up, can be stripped off and clings to the host. So ticks do not sit on trees and let themselves fall down. They hang around on grass, ferns or loose leaves in the forest. If the animals smell a potential victim, they cling to shoes, pants or directly on the skin. The tick crawls around there until it locates a well-perfused area - for example the squat. Then the tick sticks and sucks blood. So the mini vampires don't bite, they sting.

When is tick season?

Ticks are mainly active during the warm season, from March to October. But warm is relative, because Ixodes ricinus are just eight degrees Celsius enough to be able to reproduce. Ticks actively crawl through the undergrowth even on mild winter days. The tick season is therefore less a question of the season than the temperature. Individual animals have also been identified at heights of over 1,300 meters.