Ticks can transmit diseases – even to children. What You Should Know About Lyme Disease, as behave correctly
After playing outside, look at the skin: is this a tick?
You are mean. First they hide in the tall grass, in bushes, hedges and forests. When a victim comes along the way, they fall onto his body unnoticed. Before they strike, they anesthetize the puncture site so that their victim does not notice anything and then calmly suck blood until their bodies are full. Then they fall off again.
Tick bites often go unnoticed
No wonder that ticks often go unnoticed. "Many who were stung by the tiny arachnids do not remember it at all", says pediatrician Dr. Bernhard Bull from Butzbach. And that’s a problem.
Because throughout Germany ticks transmit Lyme disease, an infection that can trigger various symptoms in the body. Until the beasts have secreted the germs from their intestines into a human body, "it takes 24 hours and longer", explains Professor Hans-Jürgen Christen from the children’s hospital on the Bult in Hanover. They can transmit other infections immediately.
Common Lyme disease symptom: ring-shaped redness
The longer a tick sucks, the worse. "About 30 percent of ticks are infected with Borrelia", says Christians. But far from all tick victims fall ill, an infection often goes completely unnoticed. Those who show symptoms, "can be treated very well with antibiotics", explains pediatrician Christians. "Most of the patients will be completely healthy again with the appropriate treatment."
Borreliosis typically occurs in several phases in children and adults alike: Often, but not always, it manifests with a typical ring-shaped redness, the diameter of which increases. It develops days or weeks after the tick bite. "This blush is a reason to go to the doctor immediately", explains Professor Werner Grossmann, specialist in neurology and pharmacology in Munich.
Even if the spot turns red, strongly itches or causes other sensations, Grossmann advises to visit a doctor. Occasionally, those affected now also react with fever, cold symptoms or swollen lymph nodes. Even then you should be listening. But be careful: "Some laboratory tests for Lyme disease are not meaningful", says Grossmann. "Using the TNF-alpha or IFN-gamma inflammation markers, you can see early on whether someone is infected."
Unclear joint pain or facial paralysis
And: ticks transmit many diseases. It may also be that there is a completely different infection behind the symptoms, for example a chlamydia infection, explains Grossmann. In rare cases, the borrelia spread untreated in the body. If they affect joints or the nervous system, pain or paralysis may occur.
Even then, the condition can still be treated well with antibiotics. "If children have unclear joint problems, one should always think of Lyme disease", so pediatrician bull. The so-called neuroborreliosis affects the nervous system. "Sick people then have symptoms of paralysis, which often show on the face in children", says Christians.
Chronic Lyme disease in children is rare
While joint complaints are relatively harmless in children, adults often suffer from severe pain. "This can also be treated well with antibiotics", says Christians. Borreliosis only becomes chronic very rarely, which means that neurological and rheumatic complaints return months and years after the infection. "But this never happens in children", says the expert. The best protection against infection is to get rid of the nasty tiny thing as soon as possible before it releases the germs into the body of its victim. Even better: don’t get ticks at all.
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