What are ticks?
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Ticks are small insects that are found in nature between March and October. High grass is one example of where you might find ticks.
Ticks suck blood from people and animals. A tick looks like a small spider and is 1–4 millimetres long. A tick may grow bigger in size once it has sucked blood.
Ticks can spread diseases
Ticks are not dangerous, but they can spread diseases. One of these diseases is TBE, tick-borne encephalitis, which can cause inflammation, swelling, of the brain. Another disease is called Lyme disease, and this can affect the skin, joints, and nerves. You can get vaccinated against TBE, but not against Lyme disease.
There is a greater risk of infection if the tick stays attached to the skin for a long time. You should therefore remove the tick as quickly as possible.
How do I remove a tick?
- Use tweezers to remove ticks. Pharmacies offer different kinds that you can buy.
- Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Gently pull it straight out. Try to get all of the tick out.
- Wash the area where the tick was attached with soap and water.
If any parts of the tick remain, you can try to remove them. Otherwise, they usually disappear on their own. The skin may get a little red and swollen around the bite for a few days, but then heal.
When should I seek medical care?
Most people who are bitten by a tick do not need medical care.
Contact a healthcare centre if a week has passed and any of the following has happened:
- There is a red spot in the area where the tick was attached, and this spot is larger than a couple of centimetres. The spot can be completely red or look like a ring, and it may be lighter in the centre.
- You have a fever, headaches, aches in your body, and you are more tired than usual.
Some clinics are open in the evenings and on weekends.
Call the 1177 hotline if you would like advice about what to do. The hotline is staffed by nurses. They can help you with information on where to seek care, if necessary.
Tips for not getting bitten by a tick
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt, long trousers, and high shoes or boots whenever you are out in nature.
- Check your body for ticks after you have been out in nature.
- Check your skin when you get undressed or shower/take a bath.
- Check your children's skin after they have been out in nature.
Also check your dogs, cats or any other pets. Remove ticks as soon as possible.
Vaccination against TBE
There is a particular risk of ticks spreading the disease TBE in certain areas, such as:
- Stockholm County, near the sea
- Västra Götaland County.
There are also other areas where the risk of infection is greater. Call the 1177 hotline if you are not sure about whether there is a greater risk in your area.
Get vaccinated if you plan to be out in nature in an area where there is a greater risk of infection.
You need to get vaccinated two months beforehand in order to be completely protected against TBE. Contact a healthcare centre or clinic to get vaccinated.