When the weather gets warmer, we want to head outside. But this is also the time when ticks become active. If you’ve been bitten by a tick, you need to know how to remove it and when to see your GP.
Ticks like warm, moist skin. Make sure you inspect the following areas carefully:
Ticks can transmit infections. To prevent infection, ticks should be removed immediately. The bacteria that cause Lyme disease are transmitted within 16 to 24 hours. The bacteria enter the human body in secretions emitted by the ticks. By contrast, the tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) virus enters the body when the tick bites you, because the pathogens are contained in the tick’s saliva glands.
The tick vaccine is only effective for preventing tick-borne encephalitis (TBE); it does not prevent Lyme disease.
Ticks feed by penetrating your skin and extracting blood. Their mouth parts are made up of cutting organs, with which they cut the skin to access the blood supply, and the hypostome, which they insert into the incision to suck out the blood. The hypostome is anchored in the surrounding tissue with small barbs.
To completely remove a tick, you will need to use tweezers, a tick card or a tick pen. Take hold of the tick’s head and pull it out slowly. Check that you have removed the whole tick and that no mouth parts are left in the wound. Lastly, disinfect the area.
What to remember when removing a tick:
In most cases, there is no need to see a doctor after being bitten by a tick. However, in the following cases, you will need to visit your GP:
Once the tick is no longer attached to your skin, it can be difficult to spot a tick bite. There is no way of telling whether you have a tick bite or a mosquito bite. Disinfect the wound and monitor the area over the next few days. If you notice any of the symptoms described in this article, you should see a doctor.
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