Health tips for travellers: How to prevent tick bites

Whether you are a city or an outdoor traveller, you may be at risk of tick bites. So, check the risk on your destination and prevent tick bites while away.

Ticks can transmit many different diseases, such as lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis. When travelling, you should prevent tick bites, so you can stay safe.

Who is at risk of tick bites?

Ticks can be found on mountainsides, in grassland on forest fringes, on forest glades, on riverside meadows and marshland, and on forest plantations with brushwood and shruggery. Outdoor travellers who are planning to visit such areas, for example orienteers, ramblers or hikers, are therefore at higher risk of tick bites.

Moreover, ticks can be found in parks and gardens.

This means that not only outdoor travellers, but also city travellers, may be at risk of tick bites. It is therefore a good idea to check if ticks are prevalent at your destination before you leave, so you are prepared for your trip.

How can you prevent tick bites?

As ticks typically live in long grassy areas, it’s recommended that you keep to footpaths and stay away from long grass, when walking, to prevent tick bites.

As a rule of thumb, you should always check your body for ticks after being outdoors, and remove them promptly if you have been bitten. If you wear light coloured clothing, it will make it easier for you to see ticks and other insects.

Avoid exposing your skin as much as possible by wearing loose-fitting clothing with long sleeves and long trousers that are tucked into socks.

To protect your body from tick bites, you should also use DEET based insect repellent on exposed skin, as this is considered the most effective, and can also be sprayed on natural fiber clothing. To protect yourself further, spray or impregnate your clothing with insecticide, for example permethrin.

You should also avoid using products with strong perfume, for example soaps, as this may attract insects, and avoid consuming unpasteurised dairy products in risk areas.

What should you be aware of after travel?

If you have a fever of 38 °C or more, or you experience other worrying symptoms after travel, you should seek prompt medical help.

Insect bites can sometimes become infected, swollen, painful and red with pus at the site where the bite occurred. It is advised that you contact your GP if you are concerned about the symptoms, as antibiotics may be required.

If you develop a rash or a fever several weeks after you have removed a tick, you should seek immediate medical attention, and inform them that you had a recent tick bite, as well as when and where you were bitten.

Why should you prevent tick bites?

It is very important that you prevent tick bites to the best of your abilities, as some of the diseases that ticks can transmit can’t be prevented with a vaccine.

If you follow a combination of the above-stated tips, you should, however, be able to prevent tick bites to a great extent, so you can enjoy your holidays without worrying.

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