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Ticks in Poland. Twice as many cases of Lyme disease in Poland. How to protect yourself against ticks?

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Ticks are active throughout the country, which translates into an exceptionally high number of cases of Lyme disease. Professor Joanna Zajkowska from the University Clinical Hospital in Bialystok explained in an interview with TVN24 that this is the result of progressive climate change. The expert also reminded how to defend yourself against ticks and what to do if you are bitten.

According to the National Institute of Public Health – National Institute of Hygiene, from January 1 to May 31, 4,988 cases of Lyme disease, a disease transmitted by ticks and caused by spirochetes of the genus Borrelia. This is almost twice as many as last year – 2,613 were recorded in the same period.

A dangerous neurological form

As explained in an interview with TVN24, Professor Joanna Zajkowska from the Department of Infectious Diseases and Neuroinfections of the University Teaching Hospital in BialystokThis upward trend has been going on for several years. So much Lyme disease may be linked to climate change, especially mild winters and long springs.

“The long, cold spring exposed us to tick bites for a long time,” she said. – Now warm, dry days may reduce the risk of exposure, but you have to remember that ticks like it when it is cool and damp, i.e. in the mornings.

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Among the symptoms of Lyme disease that prompt patients to seek medical help, the most common is erythema migrans. Its treatment requires the use of antibiotics, but it is not a particularly severe form of the disease. Much more worrying is the second most common neurological form.

– Facial nerve palsy, painful radiculitis, this is a certain percentage of all cases, about ten percent – said Zajkowska. She added that in the treatment of Lyme disease, it is very important to quickly diagnose the disease.

National forests

Tick ​​ABC

In the case of a tick bite, it is worth remembering exactly when it happened – this information can be useful during diagnosis. You should also remove the tick from your skin as soon as possible.

– To get infected with spirochetes Borrelia, the tick must stay in the skin for at least 12 hours – explained the expert. – We have time (…) to look at the skin, see if there is any undesirable guest there. Removal before 12 hours ensures no transmission.

The basis of tick prophylaxis should be proper protection against walking in the forest or park. It is worth taking care of proper clothing and the use of tick repellent – as Zajkowska reminded, they work for several hours, so it is worth repeating the application.

“The most important preventive measure is to watch your skin when you get home,” she added.


Lyme disease – how to recognize?

In the first period, most infected people develop a painless erythema, in the middle of which there is clearness. Skin changes are sometimes accompanied by flu-like symptoms, such as: fever or low-grade fever, feeling of malaise, fatigue, headaches, muscle and joint pains. Among the late symptoms of Lyme disease in adults, e.g. atrophic dermatitis of the limbs is mentioned. The changes are accompanied by arthritis and neurological symptoms.

Ticks live mainly in deciduous and mixed forests, in grassy areas, in dense thickets, ferns, as well as in city parks and on the outskirts of housing estates surrounded by green areas. Not all ticks are carriers of Lyme disease bacteria, but during a bite, they can also transfer other bacteria and viruses into the blood, causing, among others, Lyme disease. tick-borne encephalitis.


Main photo source: Shutterstock

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