Tick Problems? Keep Them Out

Everyone dreads finding a tick on them. With over 800 species, 90 in the continental United States, it is likely that you have at least seen one on your clothes or on a family pet. Ticks have four developmental stages: egg, larvae, nymph, and adult. Despite pictures on the Internet that make them appear much larger than they are, ticks are actually very small and can be difficult to spot. A larvae is only the size of this period. Nymphs are about the size of a poppy seed and adults can be sesame seed sized. Their small size makes them hard to see and even more difficult to remove.

Dog TickUnfortunately, ticks can spread at least 10 different types of diseases in humans. These can include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichosis, and Babeiois. The type of illness you can receive from a tick depends on its species and what type of bacteria or pathogen it might be carrying. Lyme disease is also a huge concern with ticks. It can be a very serious disease that doctors find difficult to diagnosis. Without a diagnosis and correct treatment, symptoms can be hard to get under control. Symptoms are easily confused with other illnesses and usually begin with flu-like fever, aches, pains, and chills. Also, most people who have been bitten by a tick and develop Lyme disease have a bullseye looking rash around the bite area, although this is not true in all people.  As many as 9 out of 10 cases of Lyme disease may go unreported, so be sure to see your doctor right away if you think you have a tick bite.

If you suspect a tick bite, it can be important to know what type of tick might have bitten you. If you have removed the tick, be sure to keep it in a jar or plastic bag. This way it can be identified later. The most common tick is the Ixodes scapularis, or deer tick. This tick takes two years to complete its life cycle and can transmit Lyme disease, Babesiosis, and Anaplasmosis. Another common tick is the Lone Star tick. The larvae do not transmit disease, but the nymphal and adult stages can. This tick can transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Ehrlichiosis.

To lessen your chances of being bite by a tick while out in wooded areas, be sure to wear long sleeves and pants, and tuck your pants into your socks. This can keep them from crawling up your leg. Also, be sure to use a strong bug repellent with DEET. Also, permethrin is also a strong tick repellent, but can only be used on clothes, not on skin. If you suspect you have ticks in your own yard, be sure to call a professional to eliminate them from your property. Ticks pose a huge danger to people and animals, don’t hesitate to contact a licensed professional so you and your family can enjoy the outdoors again!


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