Why Ticks Are Dangerous — What You Can Do To Prevent Them, DC Scientific Pest Control

Why ticks are dangerous for humans — how to prevent a bite

As we move into the summer season, people are spending more and more time outdoors enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. Unfortunately, this means more exposure to ticks and the diseases that they can transmit.

Some common tick-borne diseases to be aware of include:


WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS: Symptoms typically show up within 1 to 2 weeks after a tick bite and include fever, headache, muscle pain, malaise, chills, nausea, abdominal pain, cough, confusion and rash (although this is rare in most people). Anaplasmosis is a severe illness that can be fatal if not treated correctly.

HOW IS IT TREATED: Antibiotics.

WHICH TICKS CARRY IT: Blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) and western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus).

WHERE IS IT FOUND: Northeastern US, upper Midwest, and the Pacific Coast.


WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS: Babesiosis is caused by microscopic parasites that infect red blood cells. Many people do not show any symptoms, while others develop non-specific, flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, sweats, headache, body aches, loss of appetite, nausea and fatigue.

HOW IS IT TREATED: Antibiotics.

WHICH TICKS CARRY IT: Blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis).

WHERE IS IT FOUND: Northeastern US and upper Midwest; usually peaks during the warm months.

Ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia chaffeensis & Ehrlichia ewingii)

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS: Symptoms typically develop within 1 to 2 weeks after a tick bite and include fever, headache, chills, malaise, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, red eyes, and rash. This is a serious illness that can be fatal if not treated.

HOW IS IT TREATED: Antibiotics.

WHICH TICKS CARRY IT: Lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum).

WHERE IS IT FOUND: Southeastern and south central US.

Lyme Disease

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS: Lyme disease produces a wide range of symptoms depending on the stage of the infection. Early symptoms appear within 3 to 30 days after a tick bite and include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes and a characteristic rash called Erythema migrans which often has a “bulls-eye” appearance. Later symptoms appear months after the tick bite and include severe headaches and neck stiffness, spreading of the rash, arthritis, facial palsy, heart palpitations, nerve pain, and short term memory loss.

HOW IS IT TREATED: Antibiotics.

WHICH TICKS CARRY IT: Blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) and western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus).

WHERE IS IT FOUND: Northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and north Central US and the Pacific coast.

Powassan Disease

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS: Symptoms appear between 1 week and 1 month after a tick bite. Powassan virus can cause encephalitis and meningitis in the central nervous system. Other symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, loss of coordination, speech difficulties, and seizures. Approximately 10% of cases are fatal. Approximately 1/2 of survivors have permanent neurological symptoms.

HOW IS IT TREATED: There are currently no vaccines or medications to treat Powassan disease.

WHICH TICKS CARRY IT: Blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis), groundhog tick (Ixodes cookei), and squirrel tick (Ixodes marki).

WHERE IS IT FOUND: Cases have been reported primarily from northeastern states and the Great Lakes region.

Rickettsia parkeri Rickettsiosis

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS: The first sign of this disease is a dark scab at the site of the tick bite. This usually develops within a few days of the tick bite. Other symptoms include fever, headache, rash, and muscle aches. Infections can range from mild to life-threatening.

HOW IS IT TREATED: Mild cases can resolve over time with no treatment. Severe cases require treatment with antibiotics.

WHICH TICKS CARRY IT: Gulf Coast tick (Amblyomma maculatum).

WHERE IS IT FOUND: Southeastern US.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS: Symptoms usually begin within 2 to 14 days after the tick bite. Symptoms usually begin as a sudden onset of fever and headache. Subsequent symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, muscle pain, lack of appetite, red eyes, and a rash (which some people never develop). This rash is usually not seen until after day 6 and presents as small, flat, pink, non-itchy spots on the wrists, forearms, and ankles. It then spreads to the truck, palms, and soles. This is a serious disease that can be fatal if not treated correctly within the first 8 days.

HOW IS IT TREATED: Antibiotics.

WHICH TICKS CARRY IT: American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni), and brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus).

WHERE IS IT FOUND: Throughout the contiguous US with over 60% of cases in North Carolina, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Missouri.

Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI)

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS: This disease is often mistaken for Lyme disease. A rash is the predominant symptom with a red, expanding, “bulls-eye” pattern that usually appears within 7 days of a tick bite. Other symptoms include fatigue, headache, fever, and muscle pain.

HOW IS IT TREATED: Antibiotics.

WHICH TICKS CARRY IT: Lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum).

WHERE IS IT FOUND: Southern, central, and eastern US.


WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS: A skin ulcer at the site of the tick bite with swelling of the lymph nodes. This is usually accompanied by a fever. This is a very difficult disease to diagnose.

HOW IS IT TREATED: Antibiotics.

WHICH TICKS CARRY IT: American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni), and lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum).

WHERE IS IT FOUND: Throughout the US.

How Can You Prevent Ticks?

Now that you know some of the diseases ticks harbor, what can you do to prevent being on the receiving end of one of their bites? We’ve put together a few tips to help you avoid ticks while still enjoying your time outdoors.

  1. Protect Yourself. Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and closed-toed shoes when you are outdoors, especially in the woods or tall grass. Wear light-colored clothes as these make ticks easier to spot on your clothes. Use insect repellent when you are outdoors and make sure it contains at least 20% DEET.
  2. Eliminate Their Habitat. Ticks like to hide in tall grass and shrubbery. Make sure to keep your grass cut low and remove weeds, debris, and woodpiles from your yard.
  3. Check Yourself Carefully. It typically takes a tick 24-48 hours before they successfully transmit infections to humans. Check yourself immediately after spending time outdoors. Be thorough when you check – make sure to check creases and wrinkles and even your hair.
  4. Don’t Forget Your Pets. Animals can pick up ticks from being outdoors also. Check your pets frequently, especially after they have been outside. Wash their bedding and toys frequently. Make sure to use tick prevention as directed by your vet, as well.
  5. Remove Ticks Immediately. If you find a tick on yourself, family member, or pet, remove it immediately. Use fine-tipped tweezers and remove it with a slow, steady, pulling motion. Flush the tick down the toilet or wrap it in tissue before disposing of it in a closed receptacle. Wash your hands and the tick bite site thoroughly with soap and water after removal.
  6. Contact The Pros. If you suspect a tick bite seek medical attention. If you suspect you have a tick problem, contact a pest control professional to do a thorough inspection and implement a comprehensive treatment plan.
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How To Remove And Prevent Tick Bites in Humans

How To Remove And Prevent Tick Bites in Humans

Just about anyone who goes out into the wild — whether you’re a hiker, camping or a prepper doing some bug out practice, will have a very good chance of making friends with a tick.!
The first signs of these nasty little buggers will be an itch, straight away you should be able to feel if a tick has then attached itself to your body.
Bear in mind that a tick can start out very small, under 1/2mm is quite common, so a good visual inspection is recommended in order to identify the tick.

* What to do if you find a tick.

Firstly, don’t panic.. At this stage you are perfectly safe. It’s NOT going to gnaw your arm off.!


Try to dig it out with your fingernail, or a knife, or club it to death — you will just make things worse.


Do not paint anything on the ticks body or your own skin.
Do not smoother with Vaseline.
Do not cover with nail varnish.
Do not apply heat or a flame.

The reason for NOT doing any of the above is very simple — they do not work.
In fact some will make the situation considerably worse and will quite easily cause additional infection and even serious diseases.

The Tick before ​& after feeding

* Are Ticks Bites Dangerous To Humans

Simply answer: Yes, they can be, if left untreated.
Ticks can carry a disease called ‘Lyme Disease’, which, if not treated quickly can be very dangerous.

Not all ticks carry the disease. But if you are bitten and show signs of redness, with a red circle or target like shape, immediate medical treatment is definitely advised.

The disease is an infection quite easily transmitted via the bite of a tick that is infected with a bacterium called Borrelia Burgdorferi.

A tick will normally get infected with the bacterium by biting infected animals, these would typically be deer and mice.

However, most people who get tick bites do not get Lyme disease.
But it is essential to be alert and check yourself, and check each other for signs of actual ticks and possible bite areas.

* Different Types Of Ticks

There are some 20 different species of tick that inhabit the UK mainland —

  • Generally found in areas of woodland — in particular you will find them amongst deciduous and mixed woodland areas, in the rough upland and moorland pastures, in heath-land and grasslands. But can also be found urban/suburban park areas and gardens.


However, there are only a few main types of tick which are found regularly in the UK, with the species most likely to bite us humans here in Britain known is the Sheep tick, Ixodes ricinus.
Despite referring to sheep, its name, sheep tick actually feeds from quite a wide variety of birds and mammals.
Having a tick bite from the other ticks are possible, and these include from the Hedgehog tick, Ixodes hexagonus, and the Fox or Badger tick, Ixodes canisuga..

* Diseases Attributed To Ticks

There a quite a few diseases related to «tick bites» — if treated early they are minor, however, the main disease transmitted by ticks on humans are:

  • Lyme disease
  • tick-borne encephalitis
  • rickettsiosis
  • anaplasmosis
  • tick-fever

* Symptoms of a tick born disease.

The main symptoms of a tick-borne infection are generally:

  1. fever
  2. joint pains
  3. tiredness
  4. flu-like symptoms
  5. paralysis
  6. headaches

*in all cases — you must consult a doctor as soon as you can and receive the appropriate treatment.

* Why A Tick Can Lead To Infection In Humans

Ticks are host to all sorts of diseases and can be considered second only to mosquitoes, in terms of the number of pathogens vectored. All ticks require blood in order for them to survive and reproduce.

They will embed themselves [specifically, their head section] into their host and most commonly around areas where the skin is thin — (the back of the knee, the armpit, the groin).

​ They will insert their rostrums in the skin and then secrete various substances through their saliva glands which then allows the tick to anchor itself solidly into your skin and to suck your blood.

* How To Remove A Tick In Humans

It is extremely important to remove the whole tick as soon as possible — especially the head section — if any part of the head is left behind it can very easily cause infection.

Any attempt to squeeze the tick will result in regurgitation VIA THE TICKS MOUTH that is embedded into your skin and the danger of pathogens entering your bloodstream.


* Tools Available To Remove A Tick Easily

There are a couple of very good and cheap tools available that make removing a tick safe and easy – I carry with me the O’TOM TICK TWISTER, T his little gadget costs under £4 inc VAT & delivery and is by far the best method I have found for tick removal.

It is very compact and I keep them in my first aid kit. taking up next to no room at all. So far they have worked perfectly each time I have used one.

* Ways To Prevent A Tick Bite

1. Use an insect repellent.

Always use insect repellents that are 20 to 30 percent DEET, as this is undoubtedly the best repellent against ticks.
Use anytime in wooded areas, places with lots of bushes, or areas with high grass cover.
Also spray your clothing, backpacks, hats and other gear. Although it may be a bit sticky, deet spray is by far the most effective against ticks and other nasties.

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2. Check for ticks daily.

This sounds obvious, but a lot of people forget. It is also the most important thing you can do against tick attack.
A ticks must be attached to your body for 36-48 hours to transmit the disease, so it makes sense how important it is to check for a tick as this method can go a long way toward preventing the disease.
You must do a full body search.
Top to bottom, head-to-toe tick search will make sure your tick free each night; A tick, being so naturally small, can easily hide in the smallest of places.
They will hide in the hair, in the armpits, in the groin area, and even inside your ears.

3. Shower after outdoors activity (preferably within 2 hours).

This can easily wash away ticks, but more importantly, it will give you a chance to do a full head-to-toe check.
Wash clothes or throw your gear into a hot dryer.

4. If you see a rash, or develop a fever, it may be a sign of a bite — visit your doctor.

In a lot of cases, some 70-80 percent, there is a rash at the site of the tick bite. Easily distinguished by its a round, target-like shaped rash that spreads out.

Some other symptoms to look out for are: fever, chills, muscle or joint aches and swollen lymph nodes.
Of course, there are plenty of other causes for these exact symptoms, but if you have been in the outdoors it’s always best to be on the safe side and visit your doctor.

* Useful Video Advice

This is a very useful video — from Lyme Disease Action, and very well explained.


Tick-Tock: How To Prevent Ticks Before They Bite

Dogs are adventurous and playful animals. This attitude, although adorable to you, puts them at a greater risk of tick bites.

Ticks latch on and feed for multiple days, and can burrow themselves into the skin. This can make them difficult to find with a quick inspection of your dog’s coat.

Ticks can also carry a number of diseases that are dangerous for both you and your dogs. That’s why it’s important that you take steps to prevent tick bites from occurring in the first place.

How Dogs Get Ticks

Dogs love to run around and rub themselves up against just about anything. This playful attitude puts dogs at risk for contact with ticks and parasites.

Ticks hide out in grass, bushes, and trees, waiting for animal hosts to pass by. When your dog rubs themselves in the grass, the tick takes advantage of the opportunity to latch onto their fur and start burrowing into the skin.

Some ticks take a more active approach to finding a host. They’ll actually start crawling toward dogs when they catch wind of their scent. When they get close enough, they’ll grab on around the toes and start feeding.

You should also keep in mind that ticks are not just active during the warmer months of the year, although this is when populations tend to rise. Many tick species can survive cold temperatures, and will still be able to feed on your dog if they get close enough.

The Life Of A Tick

Ticks do not have the same behaviors throughout their lifespan, and will often choose different hosts depending on their age.

All ticks start out as larvae, coming from one of thousands of eggs laid by their mother. In the larval stage, ticks will usually feed on a small host, such as a rodent. As they grow, they’ll turn into what is called a nymph, which is the name for a young tick.

Nymphs have slightly bigger appetites than their young larval brothers and sisters. They’ll seek out larger host animals, including dogs, to get blood.

Once a nymph has sucked enough blood, they’ll molt, turning into a full grown, adult tick. These adult ticks are much more likely to bite humans and dogs, and are also more likely to carry dangerous bacterial illnesses.

Adult females and males behave differently. Males will find a host and last on, sometimes until they die, drawing as much blood as they can.

Females tend to gorge themselves so that they can feed the many thousands of eggs growing inside them. Once they have enough, they’ll drop off the host and go find a suitable area to lay their eggs.

Different Tick Species

There is a wide range of different tick species, not all of which are a threat to dogs. Tick species also vary widely depending on the area where you live.

Here are some of the most common tick varieties:

American Dog Tick

These ticks, as the name suggests, are attracted to dogs. However, they have also been known to bite humans. They are brown, with white streaks that run along the back, although some females may turn grey when feeding.

Young american dog ticks mainly stick to rodents, and only begin to feed on humans and dogs as they mature. They are attracted by the scent of dogs, and will crawl towards them in search of a host.

American dog ticks can live quite a long time without feeding, with many of them staying alive for over a year. They can be found year round in many areas, although populations tend to rise starting in spring.

They do not infest homes, but are found along trails, in grass, and near roads. They often attach themselves to long grass, waiting for a passing human or animal to come close enough. Once the potential host brushes up against them, they latch on, biting the skin and drawing blood.

Once a tick is attached, they can feed for prolonged periods. Males will often continue to suck blood for as long as they can, only stopping to mate. Females tend to fill themselves up and drop off so that they can lay eggs.

American dog ticks are common in many regions throughout the United States, with large numbers in the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, and along the East Coast.

Deer Tick

Deer ticks are fairly small, with a brown body and a reddish brown posterior section. They will feed on humans and dogs throughout their life, although adult ticks tend to be the bigger menace, with the young preferring rodents.

Deer ticks mature in the fall, right in time to feed on large populations of deer. They usually live in wooded areas and in forests, which is why they are the tick that most often bites hikers.

They will wait for hosts by clinging to leaves or branches, and then move onto animals as they brush by. Once they’ve attached, they will begin to feed, engorging themselves on the host’s blood.

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Deer ticks can stay on for prolonged periods, with females only dropping off to lay eggs. Deer ticks are one of the most common carriers of Lyme disease, as well as a range of other illnesses that can affect both humans and dogs.

Found throughout the United States, deer ticks are most common in the Midwest and along the East Coast, although they can also be found in some regions in the South.

Lone Star Tick

These ticks tend to be a tan or light brown color, with females featuring a white streak along the back.

Young lone star ticks tend to stick to smaller animals, such as birds and rodents. Adult ticks prefer larger game, and will feed on cows and dogs.

They prefer wooded areas with plenty of bush cover, giving them places to hide out as they wait for potential hosts to pass by. Like other tick species, they latch on to passing animals, drawing blood to feed themselves. They are also commonly found next to rivers and creeks, where they wait for deer and other animals to get a drink.

Lone star ticks can be found throughout much of the United States, with high numbers in the Midwest and in the South. They are active throughout the year in warmer climates, although they can survive temperatures just above freezing. Peak activity generally starts in spring and runs through the beginning of summer.

Brown Dog Tick

Unlike the other ticks feature so far, the brown dog tick does not usually bite humans. Instead, it focuses on dogs, using them as a host and as a fuel source to feed their eggs. They’ll bite a dog, then drop off and go lay thousands of eggs.

Brown dog ticks are found throughout the United States. They struggle to survive in colder climates. However, unlike many other tick species, they do set up shop in your house, meaning that they are an infestation risk.

They are often found in kennels or houses that contain large numbers of dogs in a small area. Once they’ve gotten enough blood from dogs, they’ll crawl away and hide, laying large numbers of eggs. They can often be found in cracks, under rugs, on curtains, and under bedding.

Brown dog ticks usually latch on around the toes or ears of dogs, which are the areas they have easiest access to. They can transmit ehrlichiosis, a bacterial infection that causes flu like symptoms.

Removing Ticks

If you find a tick on your dog, resist the urge to pull it off right away with your hands. Ticks can spread diseases through the mucous membranes, and you could be at risk of infection if you have any open cuts on your hands.

Instead, grab a pair of small tweezers to help you remove the tick. Try to grab the tick at the point where it’s making contact with the skin. This helps you remove all of the tick, avoiding the head breaking off and getting stuck under the skin.

Once you have a good hold on the tick, pull straight back, slowly removing it from the skin. Don’t move side to side to try to get the tick out, as you could break the tick, leaving part of its body stuck to your dog.

When removing a tick, make sure to take your time and gently pull. It may take a few minutes for a tick to detach from the skin, and if you pull too hard, part of the tick’s body could get stuck in your dog’s skin, increasing the risk of infection.

Specialized Tick Removal Products

If tweezers aren’t getting the job done, there are a number of tick removal products that are designed to safely pull ticks off skin. When using these products, you should still avoid any twisting or rapid side to side motions, as these could cause the tick’s head to get stuck in the skin.

There are a number of home remedies that are used to remove ticks, including petroleum jelly and matches. These techniques, however, are rarely effective, and can actually make the damage worse by causing the tick to salivate. This releases disease carrying bacteria into your dog’s blood, increasing the risk of infection.

Go To The Vet

If you are having issues getting a tick removed, or part of the tick’s body gets stuck under the skin, consider taking your dog to the vet or to a groomer. They can help you safely remove any ticks, reducing the risk of infection.

Preserve The Tick

Once you’ve removed a tick, wash your hands and clean off the area around the bite with a mild disinfectant product. You may also want to preserve the tick so that the species can be identified by a vet.

Put the tick in a container with rubbing alcohol, and make sure to note any other information about the bite, such as when and where it took place. You should also see if there is any rash around the bite, as this could be a sign of an infection. Take pictures so that you can show the vet.

How To Prevent Ticks

There are a number of medications that can be used to prevent ticks, coating your dog’s fur so that ticks won’t bite. Some of these options are over the counter, and can be bought at most pet stores. Others will require a prescription from your dog’s vet.

The most efficient way of warding off ticks is to use a monthly preventative medication. These treatments are rubbed on the back of your dog’s neck, and are effective for keeping away a range of different tick species. Popular brands include Frontline Plus and Advantix.

You can also find more powerful prevention measures that last for up to 3 months, such as Bravecto, another topical medication that is rubbed on your dog’s neck.

If you prefer oral medication over topical treatments, you can find a number of chewable tick prevention products. Nexgard is one of the more popular choices, although there are plenty of different brands to choose from.

You should speak to your vet before choosing a tick prevention treatment. They can help you find one that suits your dog and that’s convenient for you.

Find The Perfect Dog

Before worrying about ticks, you first need to find the right dog. At Uptown Puppies, we connect you to a network of some of the best companies and breeders around with our puppy finder.

All of the breeders and companies we work with follow strict ethical standards. That means none of their dogs come from puppy mills or backyard breeders.


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