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Tick-borne diseases. Almost eight thousand cases

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Almost eight thousand Poles fell ill with tick-borne diseases this year. Experts from the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate warn to remember about proper protection against arachnids, which cause dangerous diseases such as Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis.

This year, over 7.6 thousand people have fallen ill with Lyme disease, and 147 people with tick-borne encephalitis, the Chief Sanitary Inspector announced. Specialists call for protection against ticks during holiday trips to forests and leisure in parks.

How was last year? According to the data, GIS recorded 17,368 cases of Lyme disease and 445 cases of tick-borne encephalitis. Most cases of Lyme disease were then recorded in Małopolska – 2,739, in Silesia – 2,132, in Mazowsze – 1,599 and in Lubelskie – 1,559. Masuria – 841. In Lower Silesia, 838 cases were reported, in Zachodniopomorskie – 671, in Opolskie – 596, in Łódzkie – 539, in Kujawsko-Pomorskie – 528, in Lubuskie – 497 and in Świętokrzyskie 316 cases.

Information about ticksNational forests

Ticks. How to protect yourself

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According to experts, the meeting with a tick most often occurs in places overgrown with grass or shrubs. Thickets are an ideal place to wait for your “prey”. Walking in the forest, meadow or park or resting on a river or lake, we are exposed to meeting this arachnid.

Ticks get on our clothes or skin directly from plants. Walking through the bushes, we can pick up a tick from a leaf or blade of grass, so proper clothing is important. By choosing light-colored clothing, we will notice the tick faster and easier, while by wearing a long-sleeved sweatshirt or jacket, long pants, covered shoes and a hat or cap, we will make it difficult for parasites to access the skin.

Tick ​​repellents are additional protection. After returning, you should carefully inspect the skin (also in the hollows of the body, e.g. behind the ears or in the bends of the knees) – a tick bite is painless and an uninvited guest may remain unnoticed on our body even for several days. Brushing your hair and washing your body is also helpful in getting rid of ticks.

TicksNational forests

How to remove a tick

Remove ticks only mechanically using tweezers or appropriate tools. We perform this procedure immediately after noticing the tick to minimize the risk of infection. When removing the tick, grab it as close to your skin as possible, by the front part of the body, and pull it up with a firm movement. Thoroughly clean the wound after the bite with a disinfectant.

We observe the place after the bite for several days, we also pay attention to general well-being. If disturbing symptoms appear, i.e. weakness, headache, fever, muscle pain or ring-like redness of the skin around the bite, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Ticks and Lyme disease. Facts and mythsNational forests

Two dangerous diseases

In Poland, ticks can cause Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis.

Lyme infection in the first stage is asymptomatic. Visible symptoms in the form of a round or oval red erythema may appear within a few weeks of being bitten. These symptoms are painless, changing over time until they disappear completely. The infection may also be accompanied by flu-like symptoms and drowsiness or balance disorders.

Any suspected infection should be consulted with a doctor. Lyme disease is treated with antibiotic therapy only under the supervision of a specialist. If the patient does not have the typical erythema migrans, the diagnosis of Lyme disease is made by a blood test.

Tick-borne encephalitis can be asymptomatic, mild or severe, leading to disability and even death. The symptoms of tick-borne encephalitis occur in two stages: in the first weeks after the bite, flu-like symptoms (fever, muscle pain) may appear. A few days after the first symptoms subside, the ailments return, additionally they may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as nausea, loss of consciousness or meningitis syndrome.

The protection against tick-borne encephalitis is vaccination, which immunizes our body against this disease. It is worth performing them in winter or early spring, before the first increase in tick activity.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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