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Summer is a great time to get out into nature and enjoy the fresh air. Whether you're going for a walk in the woods, picnicking in the park or just enjoying your garden, it's important to be alert for ticks . These little creatures can cause big problems.

The dangers of a tick bite

Tick ​​bites can cause serious health problems, including Lyme disease. This disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which can be transmitted by an infected tick. Symptoms of Lyme disease can range from mild rashes to serious neurological and joint problems. Other diseases that can be transmitted by ticks are anaplasmosis, babesiosis and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE).

Where do you find ticks most?

Ticks are mainly found in areas with tall grass, shrubs and forests. They often perch on leaves and blades of grass near the ground, where they can easily make contact with animals and people walking by. Gardens and parks can also harbor ticks, especially if there is a lot of greenery and shade.

Five prevention tips against tick bites

  1. Wear protective clothing : If you are going to a tick-rich area, wear long sleeves, long pants, and tuck your pant legs into your socks. This makes it more difficult for ticks to reach your skin.

  2. Use insect repellent : Apply an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or permethrin to your skin and clothing. These substances help to keep ticks at bay.

  3. Stay on trails and avoid tall grass : When hiking, stay on trails as much as possible and avoid areas with tall grass and brush. This reduces the chance of you coming into contact with ticks.

  4. Check yourself and others regularly for ticks : Always perform a thorough check for ticks after an outdoor activity. Look carefully between your hair, behind your ears, in the back of your knees and other warm, moist places where ticks like to live.

  5. Shower after outdoor activities : Showering within two hours of outdoor activities can help remove ticks that have not yet bitten. Use a washcloth to rub your skin well, paying extra attention to areas that are difficult to see.
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What to do in case of a tick bite?

If you do get bitten by a tick, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the tick as quickly as possible : Use pointed tweezers or a special tick remover. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull it out slowly and straight. Avoid twisting or squeezing the tick as this can leave parts of the tick in the skin.

  2. Disinfect the bite site : After removing the tick, disinfect the bite site with alcohol or iodine to prevent infection.

  3. Write down the date of the bite : It is important to write down the date of the bite and the location on your body. This can be helpful to the doctor if you develop symptoms later.

  4. Keep an eye on the bite area : Pay close attention to the bite area in the coming weeks. If you develop a red ring or other symptoms such as fever, fatigue or joint pain, contact your doctor immediately. Outline the bite area with a pen so you can keep track of whether the area is getting bigger.

Nature offers endless opportunities for relaxation and adventure, but it is important to be aware of the risks of ticks. Follow the tips above to protect yourself and your family so you can enjoy the summer worry-free. Visit the RIVM for more information about the dangers of ticks and preventive measures.

Take care of yourself and enjoy a safe and healthy summer outside!

Image: Unsplash

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