What To Do If You Get A Tick Bite, Because They Can Have Serious Consequences
What To Do If You Get A Tick Bite, Because They Can Have Serious Consequences
- 1 What To Do If You Get A Tick Bite, Because They Can Have Serious Consequences
- 2 Tick Myths and Misconceptions
- 3 Common misconceptions and myths about ticks
- 3.1 Ticks are active only in summer
- 3.2 Ticks fall from trees
- 3.3 Ticks are only a risk for rangers and forest workers
- 3.4 The right clothing is enough protection
- 3.5 Nail polish remover, glue, alcohol are great to remove ticks
- 3.6 A repellent on the naked skin is enough
- 3.7 You can get vaccinated against ticks
- 3.8 Borreliosis can always be recognized by a red migrating skin spot
- 3.9 Ticks transmit only borreliosis and TBE
- 4 Mosquito, Flea, & Tick Control in Central Massachusetts
- 5 Mosquito Control
- 6 Flea Control
- 7 Deer Tick Control
- 8 Areas We Service in Massachusetts
- 9 Lyme disease
- 10 About Lyme disease
- 11 Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease
- 12 When to see your GP
- 13 How you get Lyme disease
- 14 Who’s at risk and where are ticks found?
- 15 Treating Lyme disease
- 16 Preventing Lyme disease
- 17 How to remove a tick
- 18 «Chronic Lyme disease»
- 19 Tick Repellent And Survival Guide For Preppers
- 20 Ticks Are Getting Closer To Us Humans
- 21 The Lyme Disease Tick Scenario | Deer Ticks
- 22 Tick Diseases
- 23 How To Remove A Tick
- 24 Tick Bite Diagnosis
- 25 Types Of Ticks
- 25.1 Dermacentor variabilis | American Dog Tick
- 25.2 Amblyomma americanum | Lone Star Ticks
- 25.3 Ixodes scapularis | Deer Ticks
- 25.4 Rhipicephalus sanguineus | Brown Dog Tick
- 25.5 Amblyomma maculatum | Gulf Coast Tick
- 25.6 Dermacentor andersoni | Rocky Mountain Woods Tick
- 25.7 Dermacentor occidentalis | Pacific Coast Tick
- 26 Natural Tick Repellent
- 27 Conclusion
The weather is nice and the opportunities for outdoor recreation are endless вЂ” what could go wrong? Of course, the trade-off for spending time outside is dealing with nature, which can be a terrifying prospect. Mosquitoes and ants are annoying, but other insects can actually be dangerous вЂ” like ticks. The U.S. National Library of Medicine describes ticks as «small, bloodsucking parasites,» which is a casual way to describe a mini-vampire. They can also carry several diseases, such as Lyme disease, tick-borne relapsing fever, or Rocky Mountain spotted fever. A bite from a Lone Star tick can even cause an allergy to red meat, which is a truly scary prospect. If you suspect you’ve been bitten by a tick, it can be hard to know what to do next, but it’s important to recognize the potential signs.
The first thing to do is determine whether you’ve actually been bitten by a tick, especially because tick, mosquitoes and spider bites are easily confused. If you’ve been bitten by a tick, according to Everyday Health, the bite may cause a rash, and if that rash looks like a bullseye, it can be a sign of Lyme disease.
There’s another ghastly sign that you’ve been affected by a tick: It may still be embedded in your skin. The Johns Hopkins Medicine Lyme Disease Research Center says you’ll need a tweezer and a generous friend to remove the unwelcome intruder. You grab the tick with tweezers and pull it out of the skin, but it can take a while to actually remove it. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention warns that twisting the tick can cause some of it to remain in your skin, so you want someone with steady hands.
Mayo Clinic recommends contacting your doctor if you’re having trouble removing a tick. Once you’re confident you’ve fully removed the tick, you should wash your hands and the area around the bite. Mayo Clinic also says to freeze the tick instead of throwing it away вЂ” if you have complications due to a tick bite, having the tick on-hand could help with a diagnosis.
Once a tick is gone, you need to keep an eye on your skin, which will almost certainly be irritated from the encounter. If the rash gets bigger, you should see a doctor, according to Mayo Clinic. Medical care is also a necessity if you’re having flu-like symptoms or the bite is showing signs of infection. If you feel bad immediately after a tick bite, Mayo Clinic says to seek immediate medical attention.
If you catch a tick right after it bites you, you’re at a lower risk of experiencing any long-term side effects. Most ticks need to be attached for at least 36 hours to cause Lyme disease, according to the CDC, so if you practice tick checks after being outside, you have a strong possibility of avoiding it. Unfortunately, the ticks that cause Lyme disease can be frighteningly small вЂ” about the size of a seed on a bagel вЂ” and can attach in areas that you wouldn’t usually check. According to NPR, this includes your scalp, armpits and even your groin. Lyme disease can lead to complications throughout your nervous system, and it’s important to seek treatment if you think you’ve been affected.
Tick Myths and Misconceptions
There is a lot of false knowledge about ticks. Some have a little fact to it, others are just Myth. You hear myth like ticks fall from trees onto their victims, only forests workers are at risk or ticks can be removed with glue.
True is: ticks can be quite dangerous because they can transmit a number of serious infectious diseases. The best tick protection is to know what is fact and what is just myths about ticks.
In order to be able to effectively protect against ticks and the diseases transmitted by ticks, one must know how they live and how to effectively protect against them.
Common misconceptions and myths about ticks
Ticks are active only in summer
Unfortunately, ticks are NOT only active in summer. They become active when the temperature rises above 7 to 9 degrees Celsius. With climate change and winters becoming milder in a lot of regions we are looking at tick activity throughout the year.
Ticks fall from trees
Do ticks fall from trees? People ask that a lot, but it is just another myth that ticks fall from trees onto their victims when in range. No ticks do NOT fall from trees. Ticks sit on the ground, on grass, leaves, in bushes and undergrowth. Usually no more than 2 feet off the ground. Here they wait for warm-blooded animals or humans. In passing, the tick gets brushed off and passes to the host.
Ticks are only a risk for rangers and forest workers
They are NOT. Ticks have already conquered the cities. They hitch rides on their hosts which can be anything from mice, hedgehogs, birds, foxes to humans. They fall off their host when full of blood and may lay eggs even when they are in our yard or around the house. Outdoor activities are popular, so people are at risk when spending time with gardening, camping, hiking or just being in nature.
The right clothing is enough protection
The right clothing and the correct wear (pants in the socks) may make it a bit harder for ticks to find a good place to bite. Also giving you a bit more time to find and remove the tick before it has settled to their blood meal. White clothing helps to find them. But there is no 100% protection against ticks, clothing alone can NOT afford safe protection. In addition to the right clothing, repellents help to protect against the risk of tick-borne ticks.
Nail polish remover, glue, alcohol are great to remove ticks
Do NOT use glue or oil! Similarly, burning the tick with a cigarette is not a good idea. If one kills the tick as long as it is still attached and feeds on its blood meal, it may vomit in its death struggle and delivers viruses and bacteria into the wound.
Remove ticks correctly. Use sharp tweezers or a tick card. Place this close to the skin possibly between the tick’s head and body. Move back and forth a little to loosen the barb of the ticks mouths. Then pull them out. If you do not have tweezers or ticks, carefully grasp the tick between your fingernails (do not squash them) and pull them out of the skin vertically. Clean and disinfect the wound.
A repellent on the naked skin is enough
A tick repellent is meant to disturb the orientation of the tick or to kill it, depending on the product used. There are many chemical products as well as natural repellents to chose from. However, it is NOT enough to only rely entirely on a topical repellent as tick protection, as ticks can cling to clothing and slowly crawl up until they find a place to bite. For better protection spray your clothes to at least knee height. Better even wear tick repellent clothing when outdoors.
You can get vaccinated against ticks
Unfortunately, you can NOT get vaccinated against ticks. There is only a TBE vaccination that protects against Tick-borne encephalitis, a tick-transmitted disease that is common in parts of Central and Eastern Europe, and Northern Asia.
Borreliosis can always be recognized by a red migrating skin spot
The myth says that when a tick bite shows a red spot, one would be infected with borreliosis (Lyme disease). There are however many more conditions associated with red spots and the absence of a red spot around the tick bite does NOT mean that you have been spared from borreliosis. The so-called “migrans“ does not occur in all infections with borreliosis.
Ticks transmit only borreliosis and TBE
Unfortunately, diseases spread by ticks are NOT confined to borreliosis and or TBE. Until today, there are at least 16 known illnesses that ticks may transmit to humans. Those tick-transmitted diseases are caused by various types of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. A tick bite may cause more than one disease. There could be a whole cocktail of bacteria in a single ticks intestines.
Tick bites can have serious consequences on your health. It is important to observe the bite and monitor yourself for symptoms, so you know when to worry about a tick bite.
If symptoms occur after a tick bite, a doctor should immediately be consulted. A fast diagnosis and treatment can prevent severe progression and late effects or at least reduce the risk.
Mosquito, Flea, & Tick Control in Central Massachusetts
Central and Eastern Massachusetts is home to 51 Mosquito species. The good news is not every species actively feeds on Humans or our pets! Unfortunately, that is about all the good news there is for Mosquitoes. Depending on the season, weather conditions, flooding or proximity to wetlands different mosquito species can be present at different times. Some species only feed at night while some feed during the daytime.
Protect Your Family from Mosquito Borne Viruses
With all the news stories on Zika, West Nile, and Triple E it is understandable people are nervous. While it still needs to be proven that our species of mosquitoes can transmit Zika, it has been proven that West Nile and Triple E are transmittable in MA. Don’t forget your pets and have them checked for Heartworm which is a very serious mosquito-born disease. Something you can do to reduce the number of mosquitoes on your property is to eliminate standing water (clogged rain gutters, old tires, birdbaths, etc). Remember that other bloodsucker the Tick can transmit Lyme disease that affects both humans and our pets.
Fleas are more than annoying, they are a health hazard to humans, canines, and felines too! Flea bites can cause itching, swelling, and allergic reactions. Fleas can also transmit tapeworms to your pet if they are ingested. An infestation needs to be controlled as soon as possible because fleas multiply rapidly. While there are different types of fleas the most common is the Cat Flea (Don’t be fooled by the name it feeds on dogs and humans too).
Our Flea Treatment Process
Flea control requires a partnership between Ransford and the home or business owner. It is also important to involve your Veterinarian and or Groomer. Teamwork and timed treatment is essential for a successful result. Here’s how we’ll work with you:
- Ransford will supply you with a Flea Prep instruction sheet.
- Once the prep is done Ransford will treat your home, and your Vet or dog groomer will treat your pet at the same time.
- You will then follow the after-treatment instructions Ransford will supply.
- Pet bedding will need to be laundered.
- Your home vacuumed frequently.
While it may be appealing to just buy a “flea bomb», most people need to hire a pest control company to get long term control of fleas. Please remember that the materials in the Flea Bomb can be flammable and using too many at the same time can be an explosion hazard.
How We Control Fleas
Ransford uses a blend of different materials to control fleas. We use a IGR (Insect Growth Regulator) for long term control, along with a Pyrethrin product to give Quick knockdown of adult fleas. Material usage will depend on the floor type (Cement, Hardwood, Tile, Carpet) Ransford will use the right material for your particular floor needs.
Not only does pest control make life safer and healthier for the people in our lives, but it can also do the same for our pets!
Deer Tick Control
Deer Ticks have a two-year life cycle, during which time it passes through three stages: larva, nymph, and adult. The tick must take a blood meal at each stage before maturing to the next. Ticks are active year-round; they live under the leaf litter under the snow and feed on mice and other small animals. It is usually the nymphs that people find in the springtime. In the Fall, Deer tick, females latch onto a host and drink its blood for four to five days. After it is engorged, the tick drops off and overwinters in the leaf litter of the forest floor. The following spring, the female lays several hundred to a few thousand eggs in clusters.
How We Control Ticks
Tick control is a multipoint process at Ransford. Here are some of the steps:
- To treat the larvae and the nymphs in the Spring, Ransford will use a granular product applied over the leaf litter and around your home.
- Once wet the granules will soak into the leaf litter killing any ticks (and ants) in comes in contact with.
For long term control, Ransford recommends exterior rodent bait stations to reduce the food source the ticks need to survive. Fall is when the adult ticks climb to find a “large host” like a Deer. Late September to October is when Ransford will use a liquid to treat the perimeter foliage for adult ticks. Ransford has both green products and regular insecticides for use on ticks and would be happy to discuss both products.
Areas We Service in Massachusetts
Ransford Pest Control is proud to provide tick, flea, and mosquito services to New England. If you’re looking to spend time outdoors without worries of nuisance pests, we’re here for you! Here are some of the areas we provide services:
About Lyme disease
Lyme disease, or Lyme borreliosis, is a bacterial infection spread to humans by infected ticks.
Ticks are tiny spider-like creatures found in woodland and heath areas. They feed on the blood of birds and mammals, including humans. Ticks that carry the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease are found throughout the UK and in other parts of Europe and North America.
Lyme disease can often be treated effectively if it’s detected early on. But if it’s not treated or treatment is delayed, there’s a risk you could develop severe and long-lasting symptoms.
This page covers:
Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease
Many people with early-stage Lyme disease develop a distinctive circular rash at the site of the tick bite, usually around three to 30 days after being bitten. This is known as erythema migrans.
The rash is often described as looking like a bull’s-eye on a dart board. The affected area of skin will be red and the edges may feel slightly raised.
The size of the rash can vary significantly and it may expand over several days or weeks. Typically it’s around 15cm (6 inches) across, but it can be much larger or smaller than this. Some people may develop several rashes in different parts of their body.
However, around one in three people with Lyme disease won’t develop this rash.
Some people with Lyme disease also experience flu-like symptoms in the early stages, such as tiredness (fatigue), muscle pain, joint pain, headaches, a high temperature (fever), chills and neck stiffness.
More serious symptoms may develop several weeks, months or even years later if Lyme disease is left untreated or is not treated early on. These can include:
- pain and swelling in the joints (inflammatory arthritis)
- problems affecting the nervous system – such as numbness and pain in your limbs, paralysis of your facial muscles, memory problems and difficulty concentrating
- heart problems – such as inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) or sac surrounding the heart (pericarditis), heart block and heart failure
- inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) – which can cause a severe headache, a stiff neck and increased sensitivity to light
Some of these problems will get better slowly with treatment, although they can persist if treatment is started late.
A few people with Lyme disease go on to develop long-term symptoms similar to those of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. This is known as post-infectious Lyme disease. It’s not clear exactly why this happens, but it’s likely to be related to overactivity of your immune system rather than persistent infection.
When to see your GP
You should see your GP if you develop any of the symptoms described above after being bitten by a tick, or if you think you may have been bitten. Make sure you let your GP know if you’ve spent time in woodland or heath areas where ticks are known to live.
Diagnosing Lyme disease is often difficult as many of the symptoms are similar to other conditions. A spreading rash some days after a known tick bite should be treated with appropriate antibiotics without waiting for the results of a blood test.
Blood tests can be carried out to confirm the diagnosis after a few weeks, but these can be negative in the early stages of the infection. You may need to be re-tested if Lyme disease is still suspected after a negative test result.
In the UK, two types of blood test are used to ensure Lyme disease is diagnosed accurately. This is because a single blood test can sometimes produce a positive result even when a person doesn’t have the infection.
If you have post-infectious Lyme disease or long-lasting symptoms, you may see a specialist in microbiology or infectious diseases. They can arrange for blood samples to be sent to the national reference laboratory run by Public Health England (PHE), where further tests for other tick-borne infections can be carried out.
How you get Lyme disease
If a tick bites an animal carrying the bacteria that cause Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), the tick can also become infected. The tick can then transfer the bacteria to a human by biting them.
Ticks can be found in any areas with deep or overgrown vegetation where they have access to animals to feed on.
They’re common in woodland and heath areas, but can also be found in gardens or parks.
Ticks don’t jump or fly, but climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something they’re on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood.
Generally, you’re more likely to become infected if the tick remains attached to your skin for more than 24 hours. But ticks are very small and their bites are not painful, so you may not realise you have one attached to your skin.
Who’s at risk and where are ticks found?
People who spend time in woodland or heath areas in the UK and parts of Europe or North America are most at risk of developing Lyme disease.
Most tick bites happen in late spring, early summer and autumn because these are the times of year when most people take part in outdoor activities, such as hiking and camping.
Cases of Lyme disease have been reported throughout the UK, but the Scottish highlands is known to have a particularly high population of ticks.
It’s thought only a small proportion of ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, so being bitten doesn’t mean you’ll definitely be infected. However, it’s important to be aware of the risk and seek medical advice if you start to feel unwell.
Tick bites self-help guide
Treating Lyme disease
If you develop symptoms of Lyme disease, you will normally be given a course of antibiotic tablets, capsules or liquid. Most people will require a two- to four-week course, depending on the stage of the condition.
If you are prescribed antibiotics, it’s important you finish the course even if you are feeling better, because this will help ensure all the bacteria are killed.
If your symptoms are particularly severe, you may be referred to a specialist to have antibiotic injections (intravenous antibiotics).
Some of the antibiotics used to treat Lyme disease can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. In these cases, you should avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and not use sunbeds until after you have finished the treatment.
There’s currently no clear consensus on the best treatment for post-infectious Lyme disease because the underlying cause is not yet clear. Be wary of internet sites offering alternative diagnostic tests and treatments that may not be supported by scientific evidence.
Preventing Lyme disease
There is currently no vaccine available to prevent Lyme disease. The best way to prevent the condition is to be aware of the risks when you visit areas where ticks are found and to take sensible precautions.
You can reduce the risk of infection by:
- keeping to footpaths and avoiding long grass when out walking
- wearing appropriate clothing in tick-infested areas (a long-sleeved shirt and trousers tucked into your socks)
- wearing light-coloured fabrics that may help you spot a tick on your clothes
- using insect repellent on exposed skin
- inspecting your skin for ticks, particularly at the end of the day, including your head, neck and skin folds (armpits, groin, and waistband) – remove any ticks you find promptly
- checking your children’s head and neck areas, including their scalp
- making sure ticks are not brought home on your clothes
- checking that pets do not bring ticks into your home in their fur
How to remove a tick
If you find a tick on your or your child’s skin, remove it by gently gripping it as close to the skin as possible, preferably using fine-toothed tweezers. Pull steadily away from the skin without twisting or crushing the tick.
Wash your skin with water and soap afterwards, and apply an antiseptic cream to the skin around the bite.
Don’t use a lit cigarette end, a match head or substances such as alcohol or petroleum jelly to force the tick out.
Some veterinary surgeries and pet shops sell inexpensive tick removal devices, which may be useful if you frequently spend time in areas where there are ticks.
«Chronic Lyme disease»
There has recently been a lot of focus on Lyme disease in the media, with much attention on people who’ve been diagnosed with «chronic Lyme disease».
This term has been used by some people to describe persistent symptoms such as tiredness, aches and pains, usually in the absence of a confirmed Lyme disease infection. It’s different to «post-infectious Lyme disease» (see above), which is used to describe persistent symptoms after a confirmed and treated infection.
It’s important to be aware that a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease is controversial. Experts do not agree on whether the condition exists, or whether the symptoms are actually caused by a different, undiagnosed problem.
In either case, there’s no evidence to suggest people diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease can pass the condition on to others, and there’s little clear evidence about how best to treat it.
Tick Repellent And Survival Guide For Preppers
Human beings are often lured into believing that our species is completely safe from catastrophic pandemics and other narratives that support mass extinction. All too often, we end up focusing on things which simply matter less than they should for the sake of propping up a vaccine manufacturer’s financials (think Zika). But catastrophic threats to the human race do exist and this is largely why I run this prepper news website. For more information on pandemics, check out my pandemic survival guide.
Our planetary dominance is not a certainty nor is it guaranteed. This is why we learn to survive the plague. It is why we concern ourselves with massive volcanoes and earthquakes and EMP attacks. Our inner-reason and logic skills are always playing out for us in ways to help us respect our fragility, even if only on a subconscious level. Increasing world populations which can quickly and fluidly travel between continents has increased the odds of a global outbreak that could threaten our very existence to the core.
Most of our potential devastation begins with the animal world. Diseases can be spawned in animals and then infiltrated into the human race where it can have devastating consequences. When parasites, such as ticks, move between animals and humans, the prove to be as dangerous as any threat we have on earth. Yes, ticks, are deadly, and likely even more deadly than we’ve ever assumed. Sure, we all understand that ticks should be avoided, none of us want Lyme disease, however, how many of us really know the true threat level that is ticks? Not many, that’s safe to say.
A tick’s life is divided up into three sections. Inside of each section, the tick feeds off of a mammal, such as an animal, or even a human. This means the lifespan of a tick involves interacting with a different human or animal. When ticks feed on an animal or person, they take with them microbes derived from the blood. Ticks are highly adaptable no matter what the environment, they can thrive as far down as the depths of Antarctica. Their ability to mingle almost anywhere on earth and feed on multiple hosts makes ticks one of the most authentic threats we can know.
Ticks Are Getting Closer To Us Humans
Photo by micklpickl
Ticks have the ability to infect the human race with illnesses we don’t even know exist. And they can do so with cunning efficiency. Human interaction with ticks is rising, which might explain the uptick in Lyme disease cases in the northeast. Housing developments are consistently (and some would say savagely) stripping wildlife of more and more land space. This is pushing that wildlife into more and more human real estate. Ticks are adapting by finding food sources in more available humans because they are coming into closer contact with them as they are carried in by animals. Being that ticks have three main feeding host per lifespan on average, the odds that a tick attached to a human has also fed from an animal is relatively high. And that would hint at a human being infected with an animal’s microbe.
Warmer winters can fuel increased exposure to ticks, particularly in places such as the northeast. Ticks are now more mobile than ever and their increased time of impact is leading us into a terrifying new relationship with them.
The Lyme Disease Tick Scenario | Deer Ticks
Photo by fairfaxcounty
While ticks are something of a point of contention for campers and hikers, they’ve not been the subject of as much scientific scrutiny as one might assume. Over the course of the past two summers, ticks have gained a higher level of notoriety than ever before due to the increased spread of Lyme disease. In states such as Pennsylvania and New York, doctors are consistently handing out antibiotics to fight potential Lyme disease based only on symptoms. Lyme disease tests are later confirmed, but because timeliness of antibiotic regimes is so important, many people only need cite symptoms and prior activity (such as hiking, or being overly exposed to the outdoors) in order to receive medications.
Lyme disease is an infection that is transferred from a tick to a human being. The tick that bites the human is infected with a bacteria known as, Borrelia burgdorferi. The tick will have likely picked up the infection by biting a mouse or a deer. In the northeast, particularly in places such as Pittsburgh, deer populations have exploded into unmanageable levels. The deer consistently interact with humans, even in the urbanest of areas in the city. This helps spread the ticks to humans. These are ticks that previously fed on deer, hence why they are called a deer tick, and have the bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi strain.
Lyme disease symptoms typically begin with a rash near the spot of the tick’s bite. The rash often appears in the shape of a bullseye target. Fever, chills, headache, and muscle aches are not uncommon side effects of Lyme disease. The longer Lyme disease is left untreated, the more it wreaks havoc on the body. Many people will begin to experience joint pain, severe fatigue, and Bell’s palsy. Memory loss can also be attributed to symptoms of Lyme disease.
A Lyme disease tick is not every tick. The most prominent carrier of Lyme disease in the northeast is the “deer tick,” or the black-legged tick. The west coast has the western black-legged tick which is also a Lyme disease tick. Lyme disease can’t be spread from person to person, Lyme disease relies on ticks to do its dirty work. And ticks are marvelously optimal in doing such. As mentioned, Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics, but the earlier the treatment, the more successful it will be.
Ticks are able to carry a variety of human pathogens. This can include protozoa and viruses. Lyme disease tends to suck up all the attention which means a potentially heavy-handed amount of research is done on that end of the spectrum. This often means other, just as serious issues, are left by the wayside. Tick-borne rickettsiosis, or TBR, is one of those cases. TBR often mimics symptoms of Lyme disease and seeing they are both tick diseases, misdiagnosis is not unusual. TBR is typically treated with doxycycline. Death is rare, but misdiagnosis of TBR definitely increases the odds of it occurring.
Another concerning tick disease is Babesiosis. Babesiosis is caused by the protozoan Babesia and has a strong relationship with malaria. Doctors don’t test often for Babesiosis, so statistics for infections aren’t reliable (and are likely low due to low testing frequency). About 25% of people infected with Babesiosis won’t ever know it, but for others, it can be deadly. We hardly understand the impact that Babesiosis can or will have on the human race, which is terrifying in its own right.
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, or CCHF, is an untreatable and deadly disease spread by ticks. Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever is on par with the devastation potential of Ebola. When it comes to tick diseases, CCHF is a monster. CCHF is so concerning as a potential catastrophic plague that the World Health Organization has inflated its odds of causing massive human devastation. By doing so, the WHO has increased the amount of funding earmarked for further research into the matter. Worsening the scenario for a CCHF outbreak is the fact that cows and sheep are able to harbor CCHF, which allows the disease to thrive and eventually be carried from animal to human via the efficient tick.
Back in 2009, severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or SFTS, was discovered as it penetrated Asia. Since 2013, Japan has recorded 57 deaths from SFTS. The tick disease is often associated with diarrhea and fever. The United States has ticks capable of carrying SFTS, which means we are completely exposed to the potential spread of this deadly illness.
How To Remove A Tick
Tick repellent is the primary method of tick disease prevention, we discuss that a few sections down. However, if you do find you have a tick attached to your body, you need to get it off with immediacy. The longer the tick is attached, the more devastating the effects can be. While I do stress the urgency in removing the tick, you should not panic. And while you could purchase tick removal mechanisms, I hardly see a need.
Basic tweezers should do the trick. To remove a tick with tweezers, you should attempt to grasp the tick at the closest point of contact that the tick has with your flesh. You want to pull the tick from the skin, but don’t make hasty or harsh movements because you risk breaking off only a portion of the tick. You want a calm, consistent pulling pressure. If you do end up breaking the tick, this likely means the tick’s mouth remains attached to your skin. In this case, you will need to do a little tweezer surgery and remove the additional parts of the tick. Again, don’t panic, calm surgical movements are the means to the end.
In some locations of the country, particularly in the northeast, you can keep the tick in a baggy. Your doctor can test the tick for Lyme disease. This is up to your preference. Always be cautious after you’ve suffered a tick bite. You want to look for any signs of rashes, skin irritation near the bite, or any signs or symptoms consistent with flu. Always consider seeking advice from a medical professional.
Tick Bite Diagnosis
Maybe you never saw the tick that bit you. How would you know a tick did, in fact, bite you?
Ticks look for cozy, warm places on the body to serve themselves your juicy blood (sorry, but its true). Most ticks remain attached to your flesh following the initial bite, making them more obvious to detect. But not all do.
Tick bites can look like a swollen spot on the skin and are often associated with pain near the irritated or swollen area. The bite area may feel like a sting. It might feel like a blister. Tick bites can result in full body rashes, fevers, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. A tick bite is often an isolated event because ticks don’t typically congregate (thankfully).
The good news is, most tick bites are in fact, harmless; so no need to panic if you discover one. If you are outside for an extended amount of time, you need to search your body for potential issues.
Types Of Ticks
Depending on the region you live or travel, there are a variety of tick types you may end up encountering. Here are a list of different types of ticks.
Dermacentor variabilis | American Dog Tick
The popular American Dog Tick needs no cover to survive and thrive, only grassy areas. These tick are found in areas where people and animals alike walk. They have a life-cycle of two years on average. Tularemia and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are two of their well known transmittable illnesses which the adults can harbor and spread.
Amblyomma americanum | Lone Star Ticks
Lone Star Tick image of Lone Star Tick, collected 4 Mar 2016 by Bianca Sicich in Austin, TX. Tick is exuding liquid droplets and close to molting to next instar.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Monocytic Ehrlichiosis and ‘Stari’ borreliosis are a few illnesses that these ticks can carry once they are into their mature years. They love to bite humans and are often found in areas where animals tend to lay down.
Ixodes scapularis | Deer Ticks
photo by Fyn Kynd from Searsmont, Maine, United States
Residents of deciduous forest, these ticks live for around 2 years and popularly are capable of spreading Lyme disease. They can also spread Babesiosis and Anaplasmosis. As their name suggest, they use whitetail deer, commonly found in overpopulated fashion in the Northeast, as transport and food.
Rhipicephalus sanguineus | Brown Dog Tick
photo by gailhampshire from Cradley, Malvern, U.K
These ticks are found all over the world, in terms of the United States, they are more dominant in the south. They are known to transmit both Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and rickettsia (Rickettsia rickettsia) to dogs, but hardly ever to people. They can also transmit cases of canine babesiosis and canine ehrlichiosis to dogs.
Amblyomma maculatum | Gulf Coast Tick
These ticks love grasslands. They bite humans, birds, and animals. As their name suggests, they are often found in the gulf coast region of the United States. Here’s a map:
The Gulf Coast Tick’s impact is primarily endured via dangerous and costly livestock infestations. They are known to carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever, American canine hepatozoonosis (the cause of it), Leptospira pomona (which infects livestock), and the deadly Heartwater pathogen. Additionally, they can also cause tick paralysis.
Dermacentor andersoni | Rocky Mountain Woods Tick
These tick use grasslands and shrub areas to live and hide. Both mature and immature versions of this tick can transmit illnesses such as Colorado tick fever virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and rickettsia to people, cats, and dogs. Rocky Mountain Woods Ticks also host a terrifying neurotoxin that can cause the infamous tick paralysis in both people and pets.
Dermacentor occidentalis | Pacific Coast Tick
photo by Jerry Kirkhart from Los Osos, Calif.
These are found in shrublands from Oregon all the way down to Baja, Mexico. These are the most popular tick you will find in the state of California. Both mature and immature Pacific Coast Ticks are capable of transmitting Rocky Mountain spotted fever to people, and both cats and dogs.
Natural Tick Repellent
The absolute best defense against tick is to avoid where they are. That’s more than obvious, however, it isn’t always convenient nor is it very fun if you enjoy being outdoors. The fact is, I’ve known people to get Lyme disease by simply hanging out at their kid’s baseball games or from simply walking to their car in a parking lot that has small grass patches.
The most obvious way to fight ticks is via tick repellent. And many people want a natural tick repellent.
DEET is the most mainstream and common tick repellent on the market. The fact is, DEET works, as you can read in the Amazon reviews on Repel 100 Insect Repellent, which contains over 98% DEET in its formula. Many reviewers and people, in general, cite the following study on DEET as official proof that DEET is harmless to humans. But not everyone is convinced. I’m only going to say that as adults, we all need to decide what works best for each of us and we come to those decisions by investing time in research.
REPEL Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellent Pump, 4-oz may help fight ticks.
The same manufacturer also makes a DEET-free version called REPEL Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellent. This is what I use and over the years, it has worked for my family and I. I will tell you, the scent can be intense, but that’s to be expected as that’s essentially how it repels ticks and other bugs. Repel advertises this product more under mosquito repellent marketing, however, I’ve found it does a good job with ticks. Again, research is key.
I personally spray this natural tick repellent on my feet where I suspect they commonly attempt to enter and on the back of my neck, my waistline, my head, and arms. I smell bitter, but I feel protected.
With Ticks, Clothes Matter
Ticks need access to your body in order to latch on to you, that should be obvious. Many people wonder how ticks so easily get on them. Well, ticks that often hang out in the grass are attracted to warmth. Your exposed foot (think flip-flops) or exposed calf (yep, even in jeans), is ripe for the tick to hop on. Many ticks may jump on your shoe and move up your leg. The tick will then search for a place to feast.
That said, covering up as much as possible help prevent tick bites. The issue for many people is that tick bites are most prevalent in warmer seasons when they are much less covered by clothing. However, if you live in a region, or area like the woods, where tick bites are common, you need to consider covering up as much as possible. Pants that close at the ankles are a good idea. Wear socks. Wear shoes.
The more you can cover up, the safer you will be from tick bites, it really is that simple.
Ticks suck, both literally and figuratively. That said, you can do a lot to protect yourself from tick bites, starting with the clothes you wear. Natural tick repellents offer DEET-free experiences and many do have good reviews, but you need to research more for yourself. If you suspect you have a tick bite, you shouldn’t panic, but you should pay attention and contact a medical professional, particularly if you begin experiencing flu-like symptoms.
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.
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