Unfortunately ticks belong to spring like daffodils and are something unpleasant that we have learned to deal with. But in the last years a new disease has progressed across Switzerland proving more dangerous and potentially deadly for pets. Rabbit fever or Tularemia is known in other regions of the world but has been agressively making its way across Switzerland, there were 130 cases reported last year alone. Luckily the disease is usually successfully treated with antibiotics on humans but can be devastating for pets.
Many of us will be taking to the outdoors to enjoy the upcoming breaks so it’s best to be proactive when it comes to these creatures.
If you are doing any outdoor activities in high grasses or in the forest you are at risk, so be sure to wear long clothing and preferably light colours as it will be easier to spot any wandering ticks. It is recommended to inspect your body after you have spent time outdoors, particularly if you have been in the forest or high grasses. You can also buy a repellent for your skin and clothes.
Another prevention is to be vaccinated against Tickborne Encephalitis (TBE), which is prevalent in the Luzern area (although only 1% of ticks carry the disease), unfortunately there is no vaccination against lime disease. The vaccine for TBE is administered in three doses with two doses given within a month of each other, with the third given anywhere from 5 – 12 months later. After 10 years you will need a booster shot to ensure protection. To learn more about which areas are at risk of ticks carrying TBE you can check out this website that the federal government keeps up to date. As a general rule of thumb all elevations up to 1,500m above sea level are in the risk area.
What to do if you get bitten
If you do have a tick bite, the most effective way to remove it is to use a good pair of tweezers, pinch the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull straight out, then disinfect the area.
If symptoms arise several days to a few weeks following a tick bite, you should make an appointment with your family doctor, particularly in the case of redness, fever, headaches, general achiness, sensitivity to light or dizziness. If you feel it is an emergency and your family doctor is not available for a few days then don’t forget about the Permanence clinic downstairs at the train station.
Pets are particularly vulnerable. So make sure to use tick repellent on them every two weeks, as this ensures that should a tick bite them it will die instantaneously but will still have to be pulled out. It’s also good practice to use a white fine toothed comb and comb their head, chin, cheeks and chest every day. Ticks rarely are found any further down their body. Any ticks are squashed, beheaded and flushed away!
Download the APP
There is a very cool app with loads on information and videos. You can download it here.
The ticks are out there but with a little care you can still enjoy the outdoors!