How to protect ourselves from mosquitoes and ticks
Children especially become targets for mosquito bites. Often a little body can be covered with itchy bite marks. And in fields, forests and bushes also lurk ticks, whose bites and bloodsucking can go unnoticed. Mosquito and tick bites usually heal quickly, as long as there are no complications. By this, we mean pathogenic viruses and bacteria, which can be carried by mosquitoes and ticks. Climate change is resulting in more and more exotic pests and their diseases to survive in our latitudes.
How to protect against a mosquito bite?
Mosquitoes love the smell of human sweat and feel magically attracted to it. They are able to smell their potential "victims" up to a distance of 30 meters, or nearly 100 feet. Consequently, good personal hygiene and use of a deodorant are important measures in avoiding mosquitoes. Anti-mosquito products can also keep mosquitoes away for a little while: These products help to destroy the traitorous trace of odor that the bloodsuckers normally use to locate a potential victim. Important: Wear loose clothing! Firstly, it prevents sweating as quickly and secondly, it will be harder than with tight clothing for a mosquito to penetrate. Screens on windows also offer effective protection against mosquitoes in the home, and draping a mosquito net above the bed has been proven particularly effective for babies and toddlers.
While virus infections caused by mosquitoes are still rather rare in the US, the risk of contracting Lyme disease is high. More than 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported each year in the US. The first signs of such a tick infection is inflammation at the bite site. After a few days or even weeks, a red bullseye rash forms around the bite. After a few weeks, flu-like symptoms may set in. When symptoms occur, immediately see a doctor who can prescribe an antibiotic. Even though I am otherwise very reluctant to take antibiotics, it is absolutely necessary for Lyme disease. If left untreated, serious illnesses from severe heart diseases to joint inflammations can occur, and these are often very difficult to treat.
In contrast to Lyme disease, infection with tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) virus is rather rare and even more so in the US. In parts of Europe, ticks can carry TBE virus and cause what has formerly been referred to as spring summer encephalitis. In contrast to Lyme disease, this is a life-threatening disease that cannot be treated causally but only symptomatically. Persons who frequently work in the wild, for example in grass, in low bushes or in the forest, or who have close contact with animals, should consider a TBE vaccination, as this is the only way to prevent the outbreak of the disease in the event of an infection.
How to protect against tick bites?
As with mosquitoes, spray-on repellents exist to protect against ticks. Whereas mosquitoes bite directly where they land, ticks go in search of a suitable bite place. Particularly popular places include the backs of the knees, armpits and behind the ear. A tick does not bite immediately. By the time a tick has found a suitable place, the effect of the tick repellent may have worn off and become ineffective. Important: Wear clothing that covers the body. After children play outdoors, search their body and hair in the evening for ticks. Often the tick has not yet bitten its way into the skin and can therefore be swatted away. If a tick has already bitten its way in, remove it slowly and firmly with tweezers placed as close as possible to the tick's head.
While a vaccination can protect against a TBE infection, this is not possible with Lyme disease. Unlike in the past, a TBE vaccination is now well enough tolerated that children at risk can also be vaccinated. There is no preventive vaccination against Lyme disease.
Publiziert am von Dr. Barbara Hendel