Ticks are active again, as shown by the increase in tick bite reports on Tekenradar.nl. Quick action is important: the faster you remove a tick after it bites you, the lower your risk of contracting Lyme disease. Even so, many people still do not check themselves and others for ticks after visiting green areas. 

“It is important to remove a tick as soon as possible. That reduces the chance of contracting Lyme disease,” says Kees van den Wijngaard, an epidemiologist at RIVM. “When a tick bites, it takes a while for an infected tick to pass on the disease-causing bacteria to a human.”

Always check your whole body for ticks after spending time outdoors in nature. Also check your partner, children and pets – even after playing in the garden, gardening, picnicking in the park or on holiday. “In the 2023 tick alert updates, we saw many tick bite reports, particularly in Gelderland and Drenthe. But we know you can get tick bites all over the Netherlands, even in places you might not think of, such as in the dunes or in your own garden.”

Check for ticks every night: make it a habit

If you always check for ticks in the evening after spending time outside, a tick check becomes a habit, just like brushing your teeth. And if you do find a tick? Immediately remove it with pointed tweezers or a tick remover tool. It is important to keep checking the skin around the tick bite for another three months. If a red spot or circle develops, it is a symptom of Lyme disease. In that case, contact your GP.

Report tick bites for investigation via Tekenradar.nl

Anyone can report tick bites and Lyme symptoms on Tekenradar.nl. This helps us identify where and when ticks and Lyme disease are most prevalent, so we can use a targeted approach to inform people and prevent tick bites. Van den Wijngaard: “This year RadboudUMC and RIVM are also looking for people who have developed a red ring or spot after a tick bite in the Nijmegen area.” These people will be invited for further research after registering on Tekenradar.nl.

Would you like to participate? Report your tick bite on Tekenradar.nl (in Dutch).