As lockdowns around the world start to lift people are beginning to spend more time outdoors. We partner with Pfizer to raise awareness in the orienteering community of the risks of tick bites and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE)
- Why is it important for people to protect themselves against tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) when spending time outdoors during the summer months?
People who spend a lot of time outdoors are at risk of coming into contact with ticks. Ticks are small parasites that live near the ground in long grass and can be found both within or outside cities, in parks and gardens, as well as forests and meadows. Ticks are found throughout the year but are most active from March to November when temperatures are 6°C or above.1 Ticks do not cause disease by themselves, however, if a tick is infected by a bacterium or virus, it can pass these on to humans through a bite. Ticks, therefore, have the potential to cause disease in humans, including Lyme disease, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). See more information here.
- Why are orienteers at risk of coming into contact with ticks?
Nearly three quarters of past IOF events have occurred in countries where TBE-infected ticks have been reported and different forms of orienteering – such as foot, trail and mountain bike orienteering – can lead to the orienteer coming into contact with heavily tick-infested areas. Helping people protect themselves from diseases is of paramount importance to Pfizer and we want orienteers to feel at ease doing what they love, without putting themselves at risk.
- How can orienteers protect themselves during summer without having to compromise their hobbies?
There are a number of ways orienteers can help protect themselves from TBE and other tick-borne diseases during the summer, including:3
- Avoiding heavily tick-infested areas of forest and woodland from spring until autumn, where possible
- Wearing light-coloured clothing including long-sleeved tops and long trousers tucked into socks
- Using effective insect repellents
- Checking your body regularly for ticks
- Removing ticks as soon as possible by using a pair of fine tipped tweezers
- TBE vaccination may also be available for those living in or intending to visit risk areas – speak to your healthcare professional to find out more
- Do you have a message to orienteers for the coming summer season?
As it gets warmer, make the most of being able to participate in the outdoor activities you love, but make sure you are taking the necessary precautions to not put yourself at risk of being bitten by ticks.
To find out more about Pfizer, please visit Pfizer.com