Five Things about Ticks◀ Back To Blog
May 15, 2013
Ticks are small blood sucking arachnids that feed on birds and animals, including humans. With spring here and more people spending time outdoors means, more ticks and more chances of being bitten. The bite of a tick can lead to tick borne illnesses such as Lyme disease. Here are five things you need to know about ticks and Lyme disease to ensure you stay safe while enjoying the outdoors.
Not All Ticks Carry Lyme Disease
Most ticks do not carry disease. In fact, most people who get a tick bite develop no more than a slight irritation to the bite. However, ticks can carry some serious diseases. In addition to Lyme disease, common tick borne illnesses include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, Colorado tick fever, Powassan encephalitis and tularemia. The one millimeter long deer tick, or blacklegged tick, is most often the tick that transmits human disease.
Lyme Disease Takes Time
Although Lyme Disease is caused by the bite of an infected tick, the tick must remain attached to its host for at least 24 hours for the disease bacteria to be transmitted. Unfortunately, after a tick burrows its mouthpiece into the skin it's in no hurry to eat and run, feeding for up to 72 hours. It is not in fact the bite itself that transmits Lyme disease bacteria, but the regurgitation of stomach contents into the host's bloodstream as the tick struggles to remove its barbed mouth after feeding. Removal of the tick from the skin can also trigger transmission, so properly removing a tick is vital to preventing infection.
Ticks Frequent Some Unexpected Places
Ticks are very small and can be difficult to see, especially early in their life cycle. Ticks love to hang out in warm moist areas of the body. All this can make them difficult to find unless you are specifically looking for ticks. After you have been outdoors in tick prone areas such as woods, vegetation higher than one inch or near water, it is important to thoroughly examine your entire body for ticks. Some favorite tick hiding places include the crotch, armpit, inside the belly button, between the toes, the back of the knees, in and around the ears and in the hair.
Lyme Disease Develops in Stages
Although most of us are familiar with the famous bulls-eye rash caused by Lyme disease, it may not develop right away. Some more immediate symptoms of Lyme disease include a red spot close to the tick bite, headache, chills, fever and joint pain. Symptoms usually appear anywhere from three to thirty days after the tick bite. As the infection progresses, people may develop cardiac problems such as an irregular heartbeat, nervous system problems, vision loss, facial paralysis and chronic arthritis. If you have recently been bitten by a tick and develop any of the above symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.
You Can Prevent Lyme Disease
The only one hundred percent effective method of preventing Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites. Ticks are most active in early spring to late summer. When you are in tick infested areas during these times, always make sure you take measures to make spotting ticks easy. Wear light colored clothing, long sleeved shirts, long pants tucked into boots or socks and closed toe shoes. Inspect your clothing and body for ticks frequently. If you find an attached tick, prompt removal can help prevent Lyme disease. Research has shown that even in ticks infected with Lyme disease bacteria, transmission of the disease rarely occurs if the tick is attached for less than 24 hours. Along with these proactive measures, a tick control service can reduce tick populations in and around your property.
Living in and around the Capital Region it is inevitable you will come across ticks. Unfortunately, keeping these insects away from your property is nearly impossible, but our pest management services can help. With simple precautions you can potentially avoid encounters with these biting insects. Thomas Pest Services, your Saratoga pest control experts can help reduce you and your families’ risk. If you live in Clifton Park or elsewhere in the Capital Region and need assistance getting rid of ticks , fill out our contact form today!