How do you kill ticks

Psychiatry, Psychosomatics & Psychotherapy

In spring and summer, when staying in the woods and meadows, watch out for ticks. It makes sense to wear clothes that are as smooth as possible and to cover hairy areas of skin. There is no conclusive scientific evidence for the effectiveness of so-called repellents (mosquito repellants) on the skin.

Since the ticks often do not bite immediately and can also pass several hours after the start of the act of sucking before Borrelia is transmitted, it is definitely useful to search the body for ticks after possible contact with ticks. Preferred areas are regions with delicate skin such as armpits, genital area, ears and trunk. Showering alone does not help, as the ticks hold onto their legs very tightly. Incidentally, the tick's bite is painless and the act of sucking can take a whole week.

The firmly sucked tick is best to grasp with special tweezers (L-shaped curved tweezers, no plastic tweezers) at the head area directly above the skin and slowly, without turning, pull it out. Try to push as little as possible so that the stomach contents are not pushed into the sting area. Manipulation with oil, glue and the like are not recommended as they can cause the tick to vomit stomach contents containing borrelia into the skin in agony. Many have had good experience with 70% alcohol: a drop on the tick kills it after about 30 seconds. Then it can be removed by lightly wiping without the need for tweezers.

You should also find out more about tick-borne encephalitis (TBE), as this viral disease is also transmitted by ticks. TBE is generally rarer than Lyme disease, but there are real risk areas, especially in southern Germany, in Austria and large parts of Eastern Europe. And: You can get vaccinated against TBE!

In contrast to TBE, a preventive vaccine against Lyme disease is not available.

Important information on tick removal

A tick removal must be done correctly and immediately after discovering the tick! Do not wait until the next day when the doctor has another consultation. The longer the tick stays in the skin, the higher the risk of infection with Borrelia.

A tick sitting in the skin should not be treated with oil or glue. 80% of infections caused by ticks are caused by such pre-treatment and bruising. Pay special attention to the small larvae and nymphs. These are very small, light brown, and easy to miss because they look almost like a mole. Larvae and nymphs are about the size of the head of a steel pin.

If possible, a tick should only be grasped by the head and pulled out with pointed, L-shaped tweezers. Because of the proportions, however, this requires almost microsurgical equipment and can hardly be achieved with the equipment commonly available for purchase. The so-called plastic tick tongs are usually too coarse and therefore crush the tick, which increases the likelihood of infection. If the tick's sting organ remains in the skin, this has no effect on a Borrelia infection. The puncture site should be cleaned with a disinfectant or high percentage alcohol. However, disinfection does not prevent Borrelia infection.