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Autumn is just around the corner and many people enjoy this season in nature. But ticks can still be active. Since the arachnids can transmit dangerous pathogens, including the early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE) virus, their bites should take preventive measures against tick bites. This includes suitable clothing, spraying with repellents and searching the body after each stay in nature. In addition, vaccination can help prevent TBE disease after a tick bite.
Even in autumn there are still many activities that can be done in nature. Some go in search of mushrooms, others spend the day fishing. Garden enthusiasts are starting to make their home paradise winter-proof. Children have fun flying kites or collecting colorful leaves and tree fruits for handicrafts. With all the joys of autumn, everyone who is outside should keep in mind that ticks can still be active.
Ticks lurk in many places
Those who spend time outdoors in autumn can encounter the parasites in a variety of places - even in the garden, the bloodsuckers can frolic. They prefer to stay in tall grass, in bushes and in the undergrowth. Here they wait at knee level for potential hosts from whom they can be stripped. Especially if you stay away from paths or work in bushes and beds in gardening, you can catch a tick and be bitten by it. Since the parasites are active as long as the temperature is above 7 degrees Celsius for several days in a row, they can still pose a risk in autumn.
Pathogens can be transmitted
The small arachnids are often not noticeable, also because there is an anesthetic in their saliva, so that you usually do not notice their bite. But since ticks can also transmit pathogens, precautionary measures should be taken. "Among these more than 50 different pathogens is also the TBE virus, which can result in diseases of the meninges and the central nervous system," clarifies PD Dr. med. Gerhard Dobler, specialist in microbiology, virology and infection epidemiology, head of the department for virology and ricketsiology at the Institute for Microbiology of the Bundeswehr in Munich. TBE disease cannot be treated causally and can lead to long-term damage.
Precautionary measures also in autumn
In order to avoid tick bites, it also helps to take preventive measures in autumn. Those who are active outside should wear long clothes. In this way, the parasite is denied access to the skin, and it can be quickly discovered on light-colored fabrics and removed before it can stab. With insect repellent sprays, called repellents, the animals can be kept at a distance for a while. It is also advisable to check your body for the bloodsuckers after each stay in nature. Another preventive measure is vaccination, which can reduce the risk of developing TBE due to a tick bite. This vaccination is recommended by the Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) for people who live in or are in a TBE risk area.
Tools for tick removal
If a sucking tick is found during the search, you can remove the arachnid yourself with various tools. With a pair of tweezers, a tick card or a tick lasso, you can grab the parasite up close and carefully pull it vertically upwards. You should be careful not to crush the backside. In an emergency, removal with the fingernails also works. It is important to observe the puncture site as a result and, if necessary, go to the doctor if there is redness or the puncture area swells up, becomes hot or painful and throbbing. The stitch diary of the ZeckTag app can also be used to document the stitch subsequently.