With rising summer temperatures, there is another less desirable rise in numbers also in store: the re-emergence of ticks, who have come out of hibernation. What should you do if you are bitten by a tick, which can be carriers of Lyme Disease?
With the beautiful weather and rising temperatures, we have more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. But the good weather also marks the end of hibernation for ticks, and their grand return to nature. These haematophagous mites are therefore on the hunt for a host in which they can burrow into the skin and suck blood, and their bites are associated with certain risks.
In effect, the risk of contracting bacteria causing Lyme Disease (Lyme borreliosis) from a tick bite is estimated at 10%. In addition, the disease can remain undetected for several years after the bite, which could have serious consequences. So, what do you need to do if you are bitten by a tick?
First of all, it is strongly recommended that you inspect yourself carefully all over upon returning from a day in the outdoors, especially if you were in high grass. Ticks are especially fond of hot and humid areas, and it is not unknown for them to bite in odd places such as behind the ears, the backs of the knees or in the armpits.
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If the tick is still present in your body, you must remove it using a tick removal tool or a cotton swab. It is imperative to remove the tick’s rostrum entirely, because it is this part of its mouth that breaks the surface of the skin. It is not advised that you compress the body of the tick or to use products that contain alcohol, because that could encourage the tick to regurgitate saliva in the skin, increasing risk of the transmission of pathogens. Pour a little water on the tick and turn it in an anti clockwise direction with a cotton swab until it detaches from your skin. If you have a tick removal tool, it will be easier again! Once the tick is fully removed, disinfect the area.
If the tick is no longer present in your body, a reddish mark will appear, before spreading to a circular mark between 1 and 2 centimeters in diameter. This mark can continue to spread and can sometimes reach 10cm in size. The lesion can last several days or weeks, and may or may not be accompanied by non-specific symptoms such as fever, headaches or serious fatigue. But in certain cases, the bite could go completely unnoticed. In case of doubt, it is strongly advised to consult a doctor, who will prescribe the most effective treatment if the bite is taken care of quickly enough.