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A tick's bite

A tick's bite can be prevented by using long pants, boots and a long sleeve shirt when moving in an areas full of grass. Also, wearing socks above the hem of the pants will help. It is easier to detect the ticks when wering white or lightly colored clothing.

- Tick checks should be done actively in the summer - at least once a day. I recommend, that people who spend a lot of time outside to do a tick check even a couple of times a day, because the infection risk decreases considerably, when the tick is noticed early enough, tells Mehiläinen's general practioner and clinical microbiology specialist Heta Yrjänäinen.

A tick's bite on a child?

Usually the tick bite on a child is on their neck or hairline. With bigger children the bites are on their legs or arms.

Removing the tick from skin- do this!

The tick should be removed as quickly as possible when it has attached to the skin.

  • Removing the tick will be easiest with fine-tipped tweezers as you can get a good grip close to the skin.
  • The easiest technique is to detach the tick is to twist it with small back and forth movements straight upwards. Sometimes the proboscis gets stuck in the skin, but it will come off on its own with time and isn't usually harmful.
  • After removing the tick, the skin can be cleaned with a disinfectant around that area. This will help with decreasing the risk of getting an infection on the skin, but doesn't have an effect on preventing Lyme disease.

Punkkilasso

Symptoms of a tick's bite

Most likely there will be a small red spot formed (similar to other insect bites) when a tick attaches to the skin. This reaction can be eased with antihistamine (for example cetirizine).

After removing the tick, the skin area around it should be checked every couple of days. It is easier to remember if you write down or take a picture of where the tick was attached and write down the date. If a ring-shaped rash or a rash, that is evenly red starts to form on the skin and the diameter increases to over 5 centimetres, it is necessary to go to the doctor's office to get antibiotics.

Diseases caused by ticks

An expanding area of redness on the skin (erythema migrans), which has to do with the Lyme disease usually start to form only after a few days, weeks or even few months after the tick bite. However, remember, that tick-borne Encephalitis can be transmitted to you straight after the tick is attached, so an everyday tick check is not enough to prevent this. There is a vaccination against the disease and it is recommended to everyone in the areas, where tick-borne Encephalitis is common.

Tick-borne Encephalitis

In Finland getting a disease from a tick bite can only happen in certain areas. In the province of Ahvenanmaa there is a high occurrence of the disease when compared internationally.

Tick-borne Encephalitis occurs as individual cases for example in:

  • the archipelago of Turku
  • the region of Kokkola
  • islands around Helsinki
  • the areas of Lappeenranta and Imatra.

The number of people who are infected with the disease is most likely considerably higher than the number of people who have already been diagnosed with the disease.

Tick-borne Encephalitis can also be transmitted in other parts of the worlds, such as in:

  • Sweden in the archipelago of Stockholm and south from there (mostly in the coast as well as Gotland and Ööland)
  • Baltic countries,
  • Russia and
  • parts of central and eastern Europe.

Tick-borne Encephalitis can also be transmitted through unpasteurized milk from infected cows, goats ans sheep. Drinking unpasteurized milk products should therefore be avoided in places where the disease occurs.

Lyme disease

Ticks can also spread Lyme disease in southern and central Finland all the way to the height of Oulu. The tick vaccination does not protect from Lyme disease, which is why even vaccinated people should protect themselves from tick bites. It is necessary to go to the doctor immediately after getting a tick bite, if a ring-shaped rash referring to Lyme disease appears on the skin.