Ticks

Latest update: - Authors: Mieke Croughs, Ula Maniewski-Kelner

Ticks are small, spider-like animals. When the temperature rises above 7°C they become active. They can crawl from high grass or bushes on to passing animals or humans and attach themselves to their skin to suck blood. A tick bite is usually harmless and painless, but ticks can be infected with diseases which can be transmitted to humans. Examples of these include Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis, African tick bite fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever and scrub typhus.

Risk areas

Infections caused by ticks occur all over the world. The main risk in Europe is for Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis.

Prevention

Long grass

Stay on the footpaths and do not walk through long grass.

Camping

Do not camp at the edge of the forest or campsite.

Protective clothing

Cover your body with clothing: 

  • Tuck the legs of your trousers into your socks. 
  • You can also wear clothing that has been impregnated with permethrin. 
  • Wear sturdy, high-fitting shoes. 
  • Ensure that young children wear a cap when walking outdoors. 
  • Wear light-coloured clothing so that ticks are easier to see.

Insect-repellent products

Use insect-repellent products on the skin.  

DEETIR 3535, (p)icaridine or citrodiol extractof eucalyptus oil repel ticks, but these products work less effectively and for shorter periods against tick bites than mosquito bites.

Inspection

Inspect the whole body systematically after walking in nature: 

  • Head
  • Hairline
  • Behind the ears
  • Armpits
  • Seam of the buttocks
  • Groin
  • Backs of knees
  • Between the toes

If you are camping, inspect your body at least once a day. 

Also inspect your clothing. Remove ticks by washing the clothes at sixty degrees or placing them in the tumble-dryer for fifteen minutes.

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