Ticks: how to avoid encephalitis and borreliosis

Health Tips

With the onset of summer, a great time begins for picnics, walks in parks and forests, outdoor activities and for … ticks. It is at this time that the blood-sucking, awakened from hibernation, are activated. Even in city yards, where pets are often walked, stray cats and dogs are fed, there is a possibility of attack by ticks. In this article, Goodshapetips will tell you how to protect yourself from ticks and the diseases they carry.

A tick that has stuck into the body causes a variety of symptoms in people: apathy, rabies, heartbreaking cries, tears of despair, in experienced people – indifference – anything but pain.

A tick bite is completely painless. The saliva of the eight-legged “beast” contains a special anesthetic that makes its penetration imperceptible.

Living in dense grass, bush leaves, a tick can wait for its prey for decades. During the years of “abstinence” his body shrinks to an extremely modest size, but upon closer examination, one can discern its characteristic features.

The body of a tick consists of a head and an abdomen. The head is covered with a dense shell – chitin. But the abdomen is elastic, it can reach an impressive size, filling with blood.

The means of attack are attached to the body – the jaws, and the organs of movement – the legs. The blood-sucking mite reaches the size of a cherry, resembling a disgusting wart hanging on a thin stalk.

Mite never gets completely under the skin. During the bite, it immerses only the oral apparatus inside. Together with painkillers, the tick injects digestive enzymes under the skin, which destroy the tissues around it. After the tick has already thoroughly dug into the victim, it turns out to be firmly connected with it until saturation.

The tick cannot leave the “crime scene” ahead of time: this is how its mouth apparatus is arranged, the tick bites into a “dead grip”. Over time, the tissues around his jaws soften and the tick simply falls out without any effort.

It follows from this that all folk methods of getting rid of a drunken bloodsucker “in a good way” will not work! Douse him with oil, intoxicate him with alcohol, make him “hurt” – anyway, he will not come out, whatever one may say.

By the way, you shouldn’t twist either, the tick is not plasticine. An awkward movement clockwise or counterclockwise, as recommended in some forums, and the belly of the tick remains in your fingers and jaw in the same place.

So how do you get rid of it?

Bitten by a tick: action plan

How to remove a tick yourself?

The main thing: without panic and … unnecessary witnesses! Outside empathizers can ruin everything with advice. If you have vodka, alcohol, cologne, brilliant green or iodine on hand, blot the bite site. The goal is the same as if you were treating your child’s bruised knee: to clear the skin of infections.

Then, gently but firmly, grasp the tick with dry fingers or tweezers and pull. Don’t use all your strength: you are definitely stronger than this little parasite!

Sometimes it can take several minutes to remove a tick, during which you gently wiggle from side to side, like carious tooth, you will pull it out of softened tissues. There should be no pain – the tick took care of the anesthesia.

The difficulty in removing a tick on your own is that it pops out of your fingers all the time, especially if one of the advisers still added oil …

In addition, even in skillful hands, a tick can “break off” – alas, among the eight-legged tribe there are those who are weak in spirit and body. Then the “remains” will remain in the wound. Picking them out with a needle is almost useless.

It is enough to treat the bite site with an antiseptic, and if there is no first-aid kit at hand, then at least wash it with soap and water. After some time, the wound will independently clear itself of the foreign body and heal.

Finally, the process of removing a tick from children and impressionable natures can develop into a special action. In these severe cases, it makes sense to seek help from professionals – surgeons, who not only tick, but also appendicitis removed without sentimentality!

Tick-borne encephalitis

Bitten by a tick: what to do?

Ticks like others blood-sucking insects (flies, gadflies, mosquitoes, bedbugs) can carry various diseases. Some of them are rather exotic for the urban dweller of central Russia than a real threat – Q fever, typhus and relapsing fever, tularemia, hemorrhagic fever, babesiosis, etc.

The undoubted danger is tick-borne encephalitis. They can be infected from a tick in endemic areas of our country – where cases of the disease have already been recorded or ticks infected with encephalitis have been found.

In addition, in recent years, more and more people are talking about a disease with the juicy name “Lyme”, or tick-borne borreliosis. This infection is more common than encephalitis. In any case, after a tick bite, you have time to think and act – all infections have an incubation period.

If you have not visited areas endemic for encephalitis, you can sleep peacefully. However, within a month from the date of the bite, you need to monitor your condition. The appearance of discomfort at the site of the bite, any rash on the body or sudden rise in temperature should immediately remind you of the tick and force you to see a doctor.

If you do not want to endure the 30-day “quarantine”, then you can take the tick for diagnosis. In Moscow, tests on ticks are taken at the Center for Hygiene and Epidemiology in the City of Moscow at Grafsky Lane, 4/9.

There you need to take a live tick immediately after removal. After spending diagnostics, the specialist of the center will tell you about the state of health of the tick, and, if necessary, will recommend you to undergo preventive treatment. You should not take any medications on your own.

Tick-borne borreliosis

Tick-borne encephalitis

The most dangerous disease that a tick can “reward” you with. Encephalitis is an inflammation of the gray matter of the brain. In 10-20% of cases, the disease leaves a trace for life, leading to disability.

7-14 days after the bite, the temperature rises sharply, a strong headache, weakness. As a rule, the first wave is followed by the second one, which is heavier. Those who fall into the specified 10-20% develop persistent movement and sensitivity disorders, sometimes mental and thinking disorders.

Tick-borne encephalitis is a disease of a viral nature, therefore, in the literal sense, it is not treated. Medicine can only relieve the symptoms and support the body resisting infection.

The outcome of tick-borne encephalitis depends on the individual characteristics of immunity. Some victims suffer the disease in a mild form, without obvious clinical manifestations, and sometimes encephalitis ends fatally. It is believed that people in rural areas get sick with encephalitis more easily than those weakened by smog, fast food and stress townspeople.

Given these circumstances, every city dweller needs to make sure that his “habitat” does not intersect with the habitat of encephalitis ticks. And if it intersects, get vaccinated in a timely manner.

In addition to residents of endemic regions, everyone who is going to visit such areas in the spring and summer should be vaccinated against tick-borne encephalitis.

Vaccination must be taken care of in advance: even an emergency abbreviated vaccination schedule implies that vaccination will be done no later than two weeks before leaving for an endemic area. Ideally, preparations should begin a year before departure.

If there is a high risk that the tick that bit you is a carrier of encephalitis, then urgently contact the nearest emergency room or the department of Rospotrebnadzor, you will be prompted for the exact address by calling Ambulance 03. For such victims, emergency care schemes have been developed: the introduction of immunoglobulin and antiviral drugs.

Let’s go to the forest: a memo to vacationers

Tick-borne borreliosis (Lyme disease)

This disease is still very young. For the first time they started talking about it in 1975. In our country, the first case was recorded in 1992. Borreliosis is more common than encephalitis. Cases of the disease are also noted in Moscow.

Even if spirochetes are found in the tick that bit you, no one will give accurate predictions regarding your health. An average of 5 people out of 100 bitten by a tick get sick. Borreliosis can have an abortive form: as soon as it starts, it disappears without a trace, because our immunity does not doze off and around the clock is on guard of health. But in some cases, the disease is severe.

7-30 days after the tick bite, a red spot forms at the site of the wound, which increases in size every day. Gradually, its middle brightens, a ring forms – migrating erythema – a characteristic sign of the onset of borreliosis.

Such a mark can remain on the skin for about 3 weeks. The appearance of erythema is a signal for an early visit to the doctor and the start of treatment. Without treatment, tick-borne borreliosis can affect the heart, joints, and nervous system.

Lyme disease is of a bacterial nature, the causative agents of borreliosis are spirochetes, therefore the disease is treated with antibiotics, mainly of the tetracycline group.

There is no vaccine for Lyme disease – borreliosis, in some cases, at the discretion of the doctor, prophylactic administration is recommended antibiotics within 5-7 days after a tick bite.

Despite the fact that the risk of getting infected from a tick is low, you should always remember the rules for safely visiting the forest. Spirochetes have always been considered the causative agents of “shameful” diseases, it would be quite a shame to pick them up from a tick …

Holiday safety rules

Remember: tick time comes with the first heat. As soon as the average daily temperature has become above +5 degrees, ticks become active. Traditionally, the tick season in the middle zone of our country is from April to the end of June. However, cold-blooded “attacks” on tourists happen in the middle of summer. The activity of ticks increases somewhat in the autumn months.

Going into the forest, take care of the “right” clothes. A must-have accessory is a hat (ideally a bandana or headscarf). Pants and jacket must be equipped with tight cuffs at the ankles and wrists.

The collar of the garment should also be fastened tightly. All this will make it as difficult as possible for the tick to access the “tasty” parts of the body: the scalp, the area behind the ears, neck, armpits and inguinal cavities, the skin under the mammary glands in women, the groin area – in these places the skin is thin, richly supplied with blood vessels.

A tick is a lazy person, he does not run, does not jump and does not fly through the air. He just sits and waits for the victim to come into his clutches.

He puts them forward, hiding on a tall blade of grass or leaves of a bush. On the paws and mouth organs are sensitive cells that capture the smell and body heat. The tick attacks only when the “food” passes very close.

Therefore, in the forest “do not stand and do not jump, do not sing, do not dance …” where tall grass grows, dense thickets of shrubs, hazels, where cattle often graze. These are feeding places for bloodsuckers.

Before biting, the tick chooses a warmer and more fragrant place for a long time, on average spending 2 hours searching. Therefore, avoid too long forays into the forest at this time. Upon returning home, carefully examine the body, shake clothes, take a shower.

Pay special attention to the favorite places of ticks. All ticks found on the body that are still “in search” must be burned if you do not intend to carry them to the SES.

Finally, when going to the forest, take repellents with you: they can be used to treat clothes and exposed areas of the body. No one knows how they will react to the scent. perfume from Dior, a female tick, but she will definitely not like the smell of repellents.

When using chemicals from biting and buzzing, follow safety precautions: wash your hands and face thoroughly before eating, your stomach may not like repellents either.


Have a great summer and enjoy your holiday! If you are bitten by a tick, do not panic! In the end, he chose you from the whole company. So, you are the healthiest and “hottest” (why does a tick need bad blood?!). And after everything ends safely, you will have something to remember.

Photo shutterstock.com

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