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Experts have been warning for some time that the number of ticks in Spain is increasing worryingly, and health workers see more and more cases of bites of these arthropods and their consequences for the health of humans. What seems to be the cause?

Winters are getting shorter and autumns milder, which causes ticks to be more and more and appear earlier than expected. In addition, a recent scientific study carried out by Catalan and Aragonese researchers warns that a new, more aggressive species is spreading through different areas of the peninsula.

Where has this new species appeared?

This is the Hyalomma Lusitanicum, a type of tick very little known until now in Catalonia. According to the conclusions of this recent study, it is proliferating rapidly and has been located in more than 30 municipalities in the metropolitan region of Barcelona.

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Bless you.

Ticks, the invisible threat of summer that gains strength with the increase in high temperatures

  • Writing: ELENA VELA Madrid

Ticks, the invisible threat of summer that gains strength with the increase in high temperatures


First transmitter of diseases in Europe and second in the world after the mosquito

  • Writing: ROCÍO R. GARCÍA-ABADILLO Madrid

First transmitter of diseases in Europe and second in the world after the mosquito

What are the causes?

The tick moves from one area to another thanks to the hosts, that is, mammals and other animals to which it bites and clings. This is the case of rabbits, wild boars or mice, wild animals on which there has been no control in recent years and which is not difficult to see even in urban areas.

This species of tick, is it more dangerous?

The main difference of this species is that it goes out in search of the host, it does not wait for it to appear. The best-known types of ticks are located at the end of the branches of the bushes and wait for a human, a wild animal or a bird to pass by to hook, they are passive. But the H. Lusitanicum are very active, as soon as they detect the breath of a host they run towards it at full speed to sting it.

How many species of ticks are there?

It is estimated that in the world there are more than 900 different species of ticks, but in Spain it is estimated that there are about 30 of them.

What risks can a tick bite have?

Fortunately most tick bites have no major consequences for humans, but each year more than 700,000 people die in the world from their bite and are responsible for 20% of the infectious diseases we see in hospitals.

If you have been unlucky, you may suffer from Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, Lyme disease, heart problems... For this to happen, the tick must have previously been infected by biting another animal before.

If I'm bitten by a tick, do I know?

Not always. To be able to feed on our blood the tick will make a small cut in our skin with its mouth, but as its saliva has an anesthetic we most likely do not know.

Generally we will notice when we see it nailed and hooked to our skin, if there is a local reaction with redness or even once it has already come off when noticing the inflamed area.

In which areas of the body do they usually itch?

They have a special predilection for wet and folded areas: armpits and groin, behind the ears or knees, between the fingers and on the neck or scalp.

I've been bitten by a tick and I've stuck it, what do I do?

What we should never do is try to release it by burning it with a cigarette, pouring oil or putting ice on it to make it loose. All of that will only make things worse.

We will look for fine-tipped tweezers and hold it as close as possible to our skin, and then pull with a slow and constant upward movement. We should not twist her or squeeze her swollen abdomen. If possible, we will store the tick in a sealed container and inside the freezer for several weeks.

Finally, we will clean the area of the bite with soap and water and apply an antiseptic.

Should I go to a medical center?

If we have been able to remove the entire tick and we are in good health, it is not necessary. Of course, during the four weeks after the bite we will monitor the appearance of symptoms such as fever, fatigue, headache or muscle pain, palpitations, signs of paralysis ...

If any of these symptoms appear, we will go to a medical center and say that we were bitten by a tick recently.

How to avoid their bites

On our walks in the countryside, we will wear light-colored garments that completely cover arms and legs and we will put the rubber of the socks over the pants. We will avoid open footwear and walking through areas with weeds. As soon as we get home we will take a shower and observe our skin. Tick repellent sprays are also very useful.

  • Saturated Nurse
  • Infectious diseases
  • Heat wave

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