Wear closed, light-colored, body-covering clothing. Ticks are easier to recognize on light fabrics. So they can be quickly removed before they reach the skin and sting.

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Every year, the small arachnids in Switzerland sting around 10,000 times. Tick ​​bites are considered accidents and cost millions. Ticks can transmit Lyme disease or TBE (meningitis) to humans. Although 100% protection against tick-borne diseases is not possible, the risk of a tick bite can be reduced even with simple behaviors.

Protect against tick bites

As of May, avoid the forest and roadsides, scrub and undergrowth, as well as grasses and ferns up to a height of 1.5 m above the ground (up to 1500 m above sea level).

Wear closed, light-colored, body-covering clothing. Ticks are easier to recognize on light fabrics. So they can be quickly removed before they reach the skin and sting.

For skin and clothes, use a tick repellent.

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Remove the tick: Take the tick directly over the skin with tweezers or special tick forceps and pull it out perpendicular to the skin surface. Disinfect the stitching point.

The Federal Office of Public Health recommends that you get vaccinated at the family doctor.

A tick bite is classified as an accident and the treatment costs are covered by the accident insurance.


Felix Ineichen, ticks are especially active in spring. What is the best way to protect yourself from stings?

Felix Ineichen: After a stay in the forest, undergrowth and on meadows, the skin should be searched for ticks. Ticks are particularly common in the popliteal fossa, groins and armpits. Generally it is recommended to wear well-fitting bright dresses in the forest. On a light background ticks are easier to recognize and can be removed immediately before they reach the skin. Also beneficial is a tick repellent for skin and clothes.

Why are ticks so dangerous?

Tick ​​bites transmit infectious diseases to humans, and in Switzerland it is mainly the viral tick-borne encephalitis caused by the virus and the bacterial Lyme borreliosis.

Viral infection can cause meningitis and, in rare cases, severe brain and spinal cord disease in humans. In contrast to early-summer meningoencephalitis, Lyme disease is relatively common and causes inflammation of the skin, joints, heart and / or nervous systems. A lesser known disease that can also be transmitted from ticks to humans is called rabbit fever. In medicine, the disease is known as tularemia.

When is the risk of hare's plague particularly high?

The pathogens, bacteria called Francisella tularensis, also enter the body when ingested or inhaled through the mouth. Thus, hunters and gamekeepers are at risk because they have direct contact with wildlife. But also foresters can be infected, such as when bacteria-containing dust is whirled up. Such dust can come from the feces of diseased animals or from animal carcasses. So be careful when working on meadows, along slopes and underbrush. Especially when brush cutters or leaf blowers are used, infection is possible. In such situations, a dust mask provides protection.

How much does the so-called tick test, with which you can have a tick examined for Borrelia?

Only about 5 to 50 percent of all ticks are carriers of Borrelia, the bacteria that can cause illness. And infected ticks transmit Borrelia only when they were sucking for a long time after the sting, probably more than 24 hours. In many cases, such an examination of ticks makes no sense at all. Not to forget is: even if in a tick no Borrelia can be detected, an infection by another, unrecognized tick bite is still very possible. In this sense, the National Reference Center for Tick-borne Diseases NRZK has expressed itself. Tick-fast tests are not recommended.

What else is there for protective measures?

A protective measure already applied in Swiss forestry is the wearing of protective clothing which is impregnated with a tick-repellent agent. The active ingredient, permethrin, has long been used in many fields, including insect repellents. It can be absorbed through the skin, a carcinogenic effect is controversial. It is therefore necessary to weigh the protective effect against tick bites against exposure to the active substance.

Tick ​​bite: what to do?

In the warm season, ticks are also active again. Anyone who discovers a tick that has been bitten should know how to properly remove it and when to see a doctor.

Ticks like warm and moist skin. You should therefore carefully examine the following body parts:

  •  armpits
  • Shoulder
  • neck
  • hairline
  • navel
  • popliteal
  • elbow

Why do you have to remove ticks?

Ticks can transmit pathogens. To avoid this, ticks should be removed immediately. The pathogens of Lyme disease are transmitted within 16 to 24 hours. The bacteria enter the human body via the excretions of the tick. The transmission of the pathogens of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE), on the other hand, already takes place during the sting because these pathogens are located in the salivary glands of the ticks.

Tick ​​vaccination only protects against meningitis (tick-borne encephalitis (TBE)) and not against Lyme disease.

You can read more about the course and symptoms of Lyme disease in our blog article.

Tick ​​bite or tick bite

Although one speaks colloquially often of a tick bite, one is stung by a tick. The mouth mold of the ticks consists of a lancing and suction device. To get the blood, the tick first cuts the skin. With the help of her barb, she sits down and sucks the blood over the Stechrüssel.

How to remove ticks properly?

To completely remove a tick, grasp it with a pair of tweezers, a tick card or a tick tweezers. Grasp the head of the tick and slowly pull it out. Check if you have caught the whole tick or if there are some mouthparts in the wound. Finally, disinfect the wound.

The following things should be noted when removing the tick:

Always use tweezers on the head, not on the body.

Do not try to burn off the tick or dribble it with oil or alcohol.

It is important that you remove the tick as soon as possible. If you do not have a suitable tool at hand, remove the tick with your fingernails.

Tick ​​bite: When should you see a doctor?

Normally, after a tick bite no medical examination is necessary. However, if one of the following situations occurs, going to the doctor is mandatory:

  • You can not or only partially remove the tick.
  •  After removal of the tick, an annular redness forms around the tick bite.
  • Some days after the tick bite, flu-like symptoms appear.
  • The tick bite is inflamed and begins to fester.

Unrecognized tick bite

If the tick is no longer in the skin, a tick bite is not always clearly visible. Based on the puncture site can not detect whether it is a tick bite or a mosquito bite. Disinfect the wound and watch the spot in the next few days. If any of the above symptoms occur, you should consult a doctor.


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