Working outside? Prevent tick bites! - Infographic

Ticks: small animals that can have a major impact on health. Their bites may transmit viruses and bacteria. Preventing tick bites is therefore very important when working outdoors. How do you prevent tick bites?

Ticks are small spider-like creatures. They attach themselves to the skin of animals and humans to suck blood. They do this by dropping from bushes, ferns or tall grass.

About 14% of ticks are infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease. After a tick bite you have a 1 to 2% chance of getting Lyme disease.

A tick bite can also transmit the viral infection Frühsommer-Meningoenzephalitis (FSME), which can evolve into meningitis. In short, the inconspicuous bites can have very serious consequences.

Who should be particularly careful?

Prevention is vital for anyone who works or participates in leisure activities outdoors. This is because ticks hide in trees, bushes, high grass and between leaves that lie on the ground. Moreover, they can be found all over the country, not only in forests, but also in parks, dunes, meadows and even gardens.

According to Sciensano, 45% of tick bites are actually contracted in the garden. Second and third are forests (35%) and nature reserves (10%) respectively.

Ticks are present throughout the year, but only become active when temperatures exceed 10°C. The higher the temperature, the more active they are. The risk of bites is therefore greatest in spring and summer. However, as a result of climate change, they are now also active in autumn and winter.

Tick bites in Belgium: these are the risk areas

The risk of tick bites is not the same everywhere. Use the risk maps provided by Sciensano and the Flemish Government to find out in which cities and municipalities there is an increased risk.

Which preventive measures can you take?

  • Clothingthat covers the body as much as possible is very important. Long trousers with trouser legs tucked into the socks, long sleeves, closed shoes and a head covering are recommended. Ticks are also more visible on light-coloured clothing.
  • If you work in a natural environment for extended periods, consider impregnated clothing. This is chemically treated with permethrin, which paralyses insects.
  • On the skin, agents such as DEET 40 or 50% and tea tree oil can repel ticks. Use it on all exposed skin.
  • Stay on marked paths as much as possible. There are far fewer ticks there than among the bushes and plants.
  • Check your body for ticks regularly. The risk of transmission of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi increases the longer the infected tick stays attached. If the tick is removed within 12 to 24 hours, the risk of infection is reduced. Therefore, check all warm spots, such as groins, hollows of the knees, armpits, intimate areas, edges of underwear, behind the ears and around the hairline at the neck, every 3 to 4 hours. Seen a tick? Then remove it in the correct manner.

Inform your staff!

By hanging up our infographic or distributing it, employees are immediately made aware of the risk. Click on the image below to view the infographic.
 

tekenbeet

What to do if you are bitten?

  • Remove the tick.
  • Write down that you noticed tick bite in your diary, note both the date and the location of the tick bite. Report the tick bite to your doctor so that it is recorded in your medical file.
  • Observe possible symptoms for a month: Be alert to the appearance of a red spot or circle around the tick bite or elsewhere on your body and to health problems.
  • If a red spot or ring appears, or if you have health problems, see your doctor immediately for antibiotics. Half of Lyme disease patients say they did not have a red spot.