Ask the Nurse
This piece comes from the BCT’s Parenting newsletter archive. We have modified this piece to meet the blog’s requirements.
Ask the Nurse – About Ticks
Text by Alison Snow (Registered Nurse)
Summer is an excellent time to enjoy the beautiful Swiss countryside. However, it is essential to watch out for ticks.
The tick season is usually from April to November.
These tiny creatures are only the size of a pinhead before feeding on blood. They attach themselves to animals and humans that brush past. They often reside in thick undergrowth, dry leaves and low-lying vegetation.
Once a tick finds itself on a human, they often like to move to warm and damp places. These include armpits, hair, the areas behind the knees and ears, groins and private regions.
In Switzerland, we worry about ticks as they may carry the virus that leads to Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) or Lyme disease.
TBE presents flu-like symptoms like fever, headache as well as vomiting. It can lead to a nervous system degeneration and partial or complete paralysis in the arms, legs and face.
The Swiss health authorities recommend three preventive vaccinations for this disease for adults and children over six. You may want to discuss this with your paediatrician.
There is currently no vaccine against Lyme disease. Hence, it would be best if you protect yourself against ticks. Depending on the area, about five to fifty per cent of ticks in Switzerland carry this disease.
Usual symptoms include a red, circular rash ‘bulls-eye” or flu-like symptoms, tiredness and body aches. The treatment is often a course of antibiotics.
Prevention is better than cure.
Spraying yourself and your child with a tick repellent is a good idea. Try also to dress in light-coloured clothes as it will make tick-checking easier. And wear long trousers, long sleeves, hats and closed shoes or boots when wandering.
On returning home, you should examine your and your child’s body for ticks, taking particular care with the previously mentioned spots.
If you find a tick fixed to the skin, remove it as soon as possible. You can use a pair of tweezers to pull the tick straight out. Do not twist or turn.
You need to disinfect the areas and record the date for future reference.
You should immediately contact the doctor if you or your child suffer from the list below or have any other concerns:
- Joint Pain