Be careful: ticks also hit close to home


HEILOO – Are you already getting the garden ready for summer? So watch out for rafts. The animals that can transmit various diseases hit not only during walks but also in your own garden. About five hundred thousand tick bites occur in the garden each year, estimates scientist Arnold van Vliet from Wageningen University. “It happens everywhere in the Netherlands.”

Esmee Hovenier (43) knows better than anyone how important it is to take care of tick bites. More than twenty years ago, she was bitten by a tick, which has meant that she has been battling Lyme disease for years. “It started with flu symptoms, after which I got cardiac arrhythmias, and then many other ailments followed. I now have no feeling in the left part of my body. ”

Not all tick bites are dangerous. However, if the insects carry the Borrelia bacterium, Lyme disease can become infected. “That’s been the case with me.” Doctors initially did not think of Lyme when they thought of Hovenier. “Other diseases like MS were first thought of. It’s only three years ago that I found out I have Lyme disease.”

Every year, 1.5 million people in the Netherlands are bitten by a tick. Every third tick bite was incurred in a garden, estimates scientist Van Vliet from Wageningen University based on reports collected over a ten-year period “It happens in gardens near the forest, but also in gardens in the center of large cities,” says the researcher.

black box
In almost 60 percent of cases, the tick bite is encountered during gardening. “At the moment it’s still a big black box, where many ticks are there in the garden where,” says Van Vliet. “Therefore, we must catch ticks in the garden with thirty garden tick counting teams spread across the country.”

In Heiloo municipality, people are also bitten by a tick in their garden several times a year: about 716 times per day. 10,000 inhabitants according to research from Wageningen University. Although every tick bite is annoying, the inhabitants of Heiloo are better off than the inhabitants of the South Dutch municipality of Westvoorne. This is where relatively most tick bites take place in the garden, no less than 4,200 per. 10,000 inhabitants.

Children and Lyme disease
Gardener says she’s not the only one with Lyme disease in her environment. Her children Scott (8) and Ashley (4) also have the disease. “They got it through me.”

According to the Foundation for tick-borne diseases, Lyme disease has been shown to be transmitted during pregnancy if the mother has an active infection. The likelihood of this happening is small and will mainly occur shortly after the tick bite on the mother, according to a number of scientific publications. More research is still needed.

“Scott often had ear infections from birth and had trouble concentrating,” Hovenier says. “After a test, it turned out he has Lyme. My daughter Ashley is also starting to experience the symptoms of the disease.” Coincidentally, Esmee’s husband, who is a farmer, contracted a related disease from a stable fly.

Hovenier’s son is feeling better now. “Scott could be treated with herbs and supplements. He has recovered.” “Because of all the health problems, Hovenier is very aware of tick bites, and she hopes others will be too.” We still survive every day. The animal is really a silent killer. “

What to do with a tick bite?
You can get a tick bite if you stay in the woods, garden and other greenery. Most are bitten in the period from March to October, according to the Foundation for Ticks Bite Diseases. The foundation provides, among other things, these tips for a tick bite:

– Remove the tick as quickly and correctly as possible. This reduces the risk that an infected tick can transmit diseases. Pull the tick straight up from the skin. Not with a twisting motion. Use a secure tick remover or tweezers.

– If you can not or will not succeed in removing the cross in the right way, then go to a general practitioner or general practitioner.

– Do not irritate the tick with soap, oil, alcohol, fire, etc. It increases the risk of a tick bite disease.

– Always write down the date and place of a tick bite and / or take a picture of the bite site. This is useful if it later turns out that you have been infected.

– Be aware of the appearance of a red spot or ring on the skin for at least three months. See your doctor immediately if a red spot or ring appears on the body.

– Also see your doctor if other symptoms occur. A red spot or ring is not seen in everyone who gets Lyme disease, so be aware of flu-like symptoms. Then go to the doctor immediately.

“The animal is really a silent killer”

“It’s still a big black box, how many ticks are there in the garden where”

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