Bitten by a tick in the Netherlands? Check yourself for others!
With various public holidays coming up and the weather getting warmer, you may decide to venture into the great outdoors and get up close and personal with nature. Whilst this is a great way to spend one of the Netherlands’ sunny days, be sure to check yourself for ticks afterwards. And if you’ve been bitten, check for more bites, warns the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)!
Check yourself for tick bites
According to figures from Tekenradar.nl, many people get more than one tick bite at a time. In fact, “almost one in five people report having two or more tick bites”, states Kees van Wijngaard, researcher at the RIVM. It’s that time of year as well, as around half of the reports of tick bites come in in June and July. So, if you’re planning on venturing outdoors, make sure you check yourself for ticks afterwards.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking there’s no chance you’ll be bitten, as you’re at risk of a tick bite all across the country. Researchers at the RIVM and Wageningen University, however, see large differences in the number of reports per region, with almost a quarter coming from Gelderland, crowning it the province with the highest number of tick bite reports. North Brabant and North Holland take second and third place respectively.
To check for ticks, pay special attention to the groin area, between the butt cheeks, armpits, backs of knees and behind the ears. Ticks are often found in these areas. The creatures themselves can usually be found in long grass and bushes, transferring themselves onto people or animals passing by.
What if you’ve been bitten?
Tick bites can cause Lyme disease, so it is important to remove ticks from your skin as soon as possible to reduce the chance of infection. Once removed, the area of the tick bite should be monitored for three months. If a red ring forms around the area, a blotchy rash or you have fever-like symptoms; the RIVM advises you go to your doctor. It should also be noted that a red ring does not form in all cases of infection.
Lyme disease is not the only illness ticks can carry either; it is also possible to contract tick-borne encephalitis, which causes inflammation of the brain. However, the probability of this is only one per 50.000 tick bites. What’s important to remember if you’ve been bitten is not to panic, not all ticks carry infectious diseases.