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Winter hiding place: ticks can lurk in Christmas trees


How to avoid ticks in the Christmas tree

In Germany, the Christmas tree is set up on Christmas Eve in most families. However, some do not want to wait that long and decorate the tree as early as Advent. What many do not think about it: ticks can lurk in the trees. In order to protect yourself from the dangerous disease carriers, some tips should be observed.

Bring disease carriers into the home with the Christmas tree

Some people think that ticks can only be dangerous in spring and summer, but the little bloodsuckers are active - even at high temperatures - even in the winter months. The animals can transmit dangerous infectious diseases such as early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE) or Lyme disease. What many people do not think about: With the Christmas tree you can bring the disease carriers into your own living room. Some tips can help to protect yourself from the animals.

Ticks are active even in cool temperatures

If you bring your Christmas tree into the apartment, you should remember that ticks may still have been hidden in it - provided that it was not too cold before.

The little bloodsuckers become active when the temperature is at seven degrees or higher for a few days.

At room temperature, the animals can be "woken up" from their winter rest. This can be dangerous, after all, ticks are known to transmit disease.

TBE can be fatal in extreme cases

Of the various diseases that can be transmitted by ticks, TBE is one of the most dangerous. It only occurs in certain risk areas in Germany.

The disease can be severe, especially in older people. Symptoms appear in about a third of those infected.

First, there are flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting and dizziness.

Some patients also develop meningitis and cerebral inflammation with the risk of spinal cord damage. In extreme cases, the disease is fatal.

No drugs are available against TBE itself, only the symptoms can be treated. However, vaccination can protect against infection.

Lyme disease occurs nationwide

In addition to TBE, ticks can also transmit Lyme disease. This disease caused by bacteria occurs in all parts of Germany.

Symptoms can include reddening of the skin, fever, muscle and headaches and even paralysis. Some complaints can only appear after months.

If the disease remains undetected and untreated, it can lead to chronic damage to the heart, nerves and joints, among other things.

There is no vaccine against the disease. Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics.

Celebrate Christmas without ticks

The risk of infection from ticks that are brought into the house with the Christmas tree is, however, low. After all, the animals need a high level of humidity to survive, which is not the case in most apartments.

But if you want to be absolutely sure that the Christmas festival takes place without the risk of ticks, you should take some simple precautionary measures:

So you should shake the tree properly before taking it into the house. This could cause ticks to fall off.

In addition, it is advisable to wear bright clothes when decorating, on which the animals can be seen better. A bright cloth under the tree is also recommended.

When the Christmas tree is fully decorated, you should carefully check the body for possible tick bites.

If you notice ticks on the body, you should quickly remove them with tweezers. It is important not to squeeze the blood sac, as this can potentially infectious saliva or intestinal contents get into the bloodstream of the person concerned.

According to experts, you don't have to go to the doctor after every tick bite. Overall, the risk of contracting Lyme disease or TBE is low.

However, if you notice a reddening of the skin at the injection site after a tick bite, you should see a doctor immediately. Because this is an indication of Lyme disease. Then antibiotic treatment is required. (ad)

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