Ticks: basic safety rules that will keep you healthy (and life)
Do I need to pull ticks clockwise or counterclockwise? Is it true that ticks live in trees? Such myths, surprisingly, are still alive. However, other issues are much more important. How to behave in the forest so that the tick does not have time to attack, why it is not necessary to flood the bite site with oil and how quickly to check whether a particular parasite can seriously harm the body.What are we protecting ourselves from?
Tick bites themselves are relatively safe. The problem is that from animals whose blood these arthropods feed on, a tick can get dangerous viruses, bacteria and parasitic protozoa – and then pass them on to humans. During a bite, along with the saliva of the tick, with which it relieves the wound and attaches to it more firmly, pathogens enter the bloodstream and cause the development of infectious diseases.
One of the most dangerous infections that can be obtained in this way is tick-borne viral encephalitis. The disease affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), and without timely treatment is fraught with paralysis, epileptic syndrome, and even death of the patient.
It is not easy to recognize the disease in time: the incubation period of tick-borne encephalitis lasts from 10 to 30 days, after which the infected person begins to have symptoms that can be easily confused with the flu – chills, severe headache, a sharp rise in temperature to 39 degrees, nausea and vomiting.
There is a vaccine for this disease, but even if you are vaccinated, it is worth remembering that a tick can transmit several pathogens of different infections at a time, the consequences of which also pose a risk to human health. So, it is necessary to observe safety precautions in nature anyway.
Rules of conduct in nature
Rospotrebnadzor annually records about half a million appeals to medical institutions about tick infestation, and the actual number of victims, of course, is even greater. Meanwhile, the rules that must be followed in order not to be among them are quite simple.
Learn about the place where you are going to go. A complete list of territories endemic for tick-borne encephalitis, for example, can be found on the Rospotrebnadzor website. In the Moscow Region, they include only Taldom and Dmitrovsky districts.
Choose closed clothes. The legs and sleeves should be long enough and fit snugly to the body, and the pants should be additionally tucked into socks or shoes: contrary to popular belief, ticks do not jump on a person from trees, but cling to him from grass or shrubs no more than a meter in height. The density of the fabric is of no particular importance: even if the tick tries to bite through it, it will most likely just get stuck.
Choose light. After the tick has hit the body, it begins to creep slowly upwards in search of a place to which it can cling. Finding a dark point at this time is much easier if it does not merge with the color of the clothes.
Prefer zippers to buttons. Or choose clothes without fasteners – so you leave the tick less opportunity to cling to clothes and stay on them until returning from the forest.
Cover your neck and do not forget about the headdress. If the tick still has time to climb the body unnoticed, do not leave it easy prey.
Update repellents. When using any chemical protective equipment, carefully read the instructions and follow its instructions, but do not forget that rain, wind, heat and perspiration reduce the time of repellents.
Periodically inspect clothing and body. Better to do it every hour.
If the tick did bite
Of course, the most correct thing after detecting a bite is to contact the emergency room immediately. If this is not possible, you should try to remove the tick yourself, in order to send it to the laboratory for analysis. It is not necessary to fill it with sunflower oil or other liquids: it is unlikely to choke, and they can interfere with the study.
· Tweezers or crochet from the pharmacy. Tightly grab the tick with tweezers as close as possible to its mouthpiece. Keep your hand strictly perpendicular to the surface of the body and rotate the body of the tick around its axis (whether it is clockwise or counterclockwise) and carefully remove it from the skin. If there are no special tools at hand, the same method is suitable for removing the tick with your fingers – just wrap them with clean gauze or a napkin. · Thread. Tie a sturdy thread as close as possible to the tick’s proboscis and gently pull it up, slowly swaying in different directions.
Regardless of the method chosen, after extracting the tick, disinfect the bite site with any means suitable for this purpose: iodine, alcohol, alcohol-containing liquid. Wash hands with soap or sanitize. If there is a black dot on the skin (the head or proboscis of the mite), lubricate it with iodine and leave it alone – the rejection of the residual parts will occur without your participation.