sign. How to protect yourself and your pets? • Jastrzębie-Zdrój, Racibórz, Region, Rybnik, Wodzisław Śląski, Żory – – portal, newspaper

Despite the availability of a wide range of means to combat these small but very dangerous parasites of humans and animals, their numbers are growing, they are appearing everywhere. Why does this happen and what we can do to eliminate the risk of contact with the tick, was told by our guest, a vet Pawe Staniczek

A few words about sign

The tick season starts in early March and lasts until late fall (while it is warm, these external parasites are active). They are very small and very mobile so they can be easily overlooked. They belong to the same group as our house mites and spiders. Contact with ticks can be very dangerous as some of them carry germs, and Lyme disease is the best known. They are the second carriers of infectious diseases in humans after mosquitoes and the first in farm animals. Like mosquitoes, they feed on blood.

Chemical protection measures – good or not?

There are many chemical personal protective equipment on the market to protect both us and our pets from tick attacks. Unfortunately, we are getting to the point where these measures are no longer effective due to their overuse. – As a vet, I believe the problem lies in our behavior – too often we use one preparation for ticks, which allows them to “adapt”, to acquire resistance to a particular chemical in subsequent generations of this parasite. It should also be noted that people often, unknowingly, also expose themselves to the effects of these chemicals, by putting a long-term collar on their pet and then leaving it in our bed – and as often turns out years later, as with the well-known weed preparation (Roundup), these agents can be dangerous for us and cause a possible disease. In my opinion, “safest” is to apply products to dogs or cats that pour preparations onto the skin. This preparation is absorbed through the skin and works for about 4-5 weeks. However, chemistry remains chemistry and in my opinion applying it should be the last resort – says Dr. Staniczek. – If we have a cat that goes to the garden, which I generally do not recommend for safety reasons (cars, contact with wild animals), the way of pouring on the skin will also be better, because it often happens with collars that the cat goes over or under the fence, hooks and suffocation occurs. Tablets, although effective because they appeared on the market relatively recently, in my opinion are the most dangerous – imagine a tablet that is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and works for several months. These are not really vitamins and we should keep their use to a minimum, he adds.

Ecological solutions

Over the years, tick attacks have become more frequent. Man is largely to blame for his actions disrupting the ecosystem. – Natural protection methods against ticks can be promoted, for example by leaving longer grass. What does tick grass have? Well, in tall grass, especially in a flower meadow, natural enemies of ticks (for example, ants, beetles or other arachnids) find refuge. The tall grass is also a shelter for birds, the so-called ones that cannot yet fly and find shelter in it from predators. We should trust mother nature and not interfere so much, the key word is biodiversity, the bigger it will be, the less we will be bothered by ticks. We need any plant, even nettles or thistles, which are commonly considered weeds and eradicated. We have to take care of nature, and then nature will take care of us, that’s very important. Aid in combating ticks is also “out of the blue”. Tits are birds that feed on ticks. The Great Tit can take as many parasites from our garden as it weighs, and 18 grams of ticks is a lot. It is therefore worthwhile to undertake ecological activities that support the development of tits, for example by installing nest boxes, says Dr. Staniczek.

After a walk

To minimize the chance of a tick bite, you should wear a hat and high socks or shoes when walking (ticks sometimes fall from the branches). Check yourself after a walk and take a shower. You should also watch our pet carefully. – A quick reaction can lead us to find a tick that has not yet stuck in the skin and only circulates around the body in search of a suitable place for itself – says our guest.

What if the tick is already in it?

Well, first of all, don’t panic. The tick should be removed as soon as possible. – If we find a tick on our dog or cat, you can come to the veterinary practice, because we not only remove it, but can also check whether it is a carrier of a serious disease. If you remove the tick yourself, do not forget to disinfect the bite site with commonly available skin disinfectants (Rivanol, Borasol, Octanisept). If the tick is not completely removed, it is not the end of the world. It is enough to wash this place with the mentioned means – inflammation will develop, and the remaining tick will crumble – says my interlocutor.

Ticks parasitize on their donor’s body for a few days until they swell and then detach. They need blood as a medium for the next generations of ticks. – And many new ones can come out of any of them, which is why it’s so hard to fight them – adds Dr. Staniczek.

From curiosities

One of the most popular sayings is that ticks only attack people with a certain blood type. – It’s a myth. Ticks are endowed with receptors that sense ground vibrations and thermal receptors, so a tick can actually happen to anyone, the doctor says. – Of the natural protection against ticks, you can mention essential oils, for example coconut or lavender. So it is best to use them by rubbing them during a trip to the forest. Garlic is also a proven method. The substances in it also have repellent properties for the tick. This method is often used by mushroom pickers. Don’t grease the tick with butter or oil — this is a big mistake — he adds.

It is also a myth that the tick sticks in the sweatiest place. – It could be all kinds of places. In dogs, the tick can settle in the mouth, gums, eyelids or ear – says Dr. Staniczek.

Worth remembering in the fight against ticks:

  • Ecological measures to increase the population of animals that feed on ticks
  • Thoroughly reviewing ourselves and our pets after returning from a walk
  • Protective clothing (e.g. hat and high socks)
  • Limiting the use of chemicals

Agnieszka Kasmierczak

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