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There are more and more ticks in Polish forests and parks. They carry dangerous diseases such as Lyme disease or the tick-borne meningitis. What to do to avoid bites and how to behave when you get bitten?

Tick

Ticks are very small, it is important to carefully examine your body

A large number of ticks, which have suddenly become active, is due to the fact that the temperature is getting higher. Just a few warmer days and this dangerous arachnid is awakened. Vaccination and infectious diseases specialist and head of the Department of Infections Prevention in Warsaw Paweł Grzesiowski informs that what attracts ticks to us is our smell, and more specifically – sweat.

Not all ticks transmit dangerous diseases. The larvae are not able to do so.

If the temperature drops in winter, they interrupt their life cycle, and only three or four warmer nights make these initial larvae begin to mature into individuals capable of transmitting diseases. We need to remember that the number of infected ticks is a derivative from the number of animals that carry Lyme disease.

Tick is only a carrier, it does not create the disease. It bites an animal that contains Lyme disease bacteria in its blood – says Grzesiowski – a person becomes an accidental victim of this kind of random sequence of events.

To become infected with Lyme disease or tick meningitis, a tick must be in the body for a long time.

A tick has to dig into the skin and most commonly it is bare skin, hairless. Therefore, it is easy to see the tick if it is already attached. If we remove it quickly, the risk of infection is minimal. It is worth saying that if a tick lives on a man up to 12 hours, the risk of transmission of a disease is actually minimal, so if we remove the tick, which has bitten us, quickly then we reduce the risk – indicates the specialist.

You cannot only get bitten by a tick in a forest. Parks and wooded areas are also risky. It is therefore important to carefully examine the whole body after returning home. Taking a shower is helpful, because that way you may wash the tick off. It usually takes a tick a while to sink into our skin.

What if it’s too late and a tick has already bitten us? Contrary to popular belief, do not twist it.

You should not twist ticks, as was previously thought, they should not be lubricated by any creams, oils, because it makes ticks, colloquially speaking, upset – advises Marek Gilarski from the Ministry of Interior hospital in Krakow. – At a pharmacy you can buy a special pair of tweezers, and you should learn to use it.

 

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