Ten most common misconceptions about ticks

There are many theories on the most effective protection against ticks. The ten most common misconceptions are addressed below.

1. „Ticks are only active during summer ”

Wrong: ticks can also be active in mild winters. They become active in temperatures from 7-9C upwards.

2. „Ticks fall off trees”

Wrong: Ticks reside on grass species and plants, and very rarely found on plants 1m height.

3. „Long trousers and sleeves will protect me against ticks”

Partially true and false: Long clothing does indeed reduce the likelihood of being bitten by ticks, however, there is no complete protection; ticks can climb up on any clothing and reach bare skin.

4. „ticks are comparable to mosquitos in their victim selection: they only bite what they like”

Wrong: Ticks are not attracted by body odour. They reside on leaves or grass and fall off either by wind, vibration or direct contact. They hook themselves into the clothing and then locate a suitable place to bite the host.

5. „Ticks are best removed with nail polish remover, alcohol or glue”

Wrong: These procedure are not only ineffective but also dangerous. Such substances can induce the tick to vomit and so potentially risk pathogens entering the bloodstream through the wound.

It is safer to grasp the tick with forceps and pull it out slowly.

6. „to protect against ticks I only have to spray insect repellant on my skin.”

Theoretically correct: However, there may be areas of the skin that may have been either missed or not been sufficiently covered with the repellant. Therefore, in addition it is advisable to spray your clothing up to the knees because ticks typically often attach themselves and climb on unsprayed skin. To protect your clothing, only use repellants that do not stain your clothing such as Doctan®.

7. „There is a vaccination against tick infestation”

Wrong:  There is are no vaccinations available against tick attacks or bites. There is however a vaccination against a serious viral infection affecting the brain (ESME) subsequent to ticks bites.

8. „ESME vaccination protects me for life”

Wrong: Vaccination provides effective protection for 5 years, although some require a „boost“ after just 3 years.

9. „The infection with Borrelia pathogens always leads to a migrating red skin lesion.”

Wrong: The so-called Erythema migrans is absent in around 30-50 percent of all infections with Borrelia.

10. „Except for Borreliosis and ESME there no other diseases transmitted by ticks.”

Wrong: Recent investigations have revealed that ticks e.g. in Germany and Europe often carry other very contagious pathogens such as Ehrlichia, Coxiella, Rickettsia, and Babesia. Symptoms caused by such pathogens are often limited and do not at the moment pose a significant threat.