When summer rolls around, we often find ourselves spending more time outdoors. It’s a time for kids to play outside, for picnics, and for staying out late and enjoying extended daylight hours. Unfortunately, you’re not the only ones staying out late. Summer brings a problem with the creepy critters in the world–notably ticks. Ticks are more than just a nuisance. They can actually cause a lot of long-term health problems that can manifest themselves in some pretty unique ways.
What Do Ticks Do To You?
There are a lot of different varieties of ticks, with only some of them being responsible for spreading diseases through their bites. There are different regions of the country where you can find these hundreds of varieties of ticks, many of them located in the southeastern states. The backlegged tick, or deer tick, is responsible for Lyme disease which is one of the more commonly discussed tick-spread diseases. Ticks can’t fly or jump, so they usually wait either in the grass or in shrubs, attaching themselves to an animal or person when they pass the spot where the tick is waiting. Once attached, the tick can stay with its carrier for several days, dropping off on its own unless you find it and remove it.
What Should I Worry About Aside From Lyme Disease?
Most tick-borne illnesses present with a fever, chills, aches, and pains. Other tick-borne illnesses include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), ehrlichiosis, and tularemia. They also present with a distinct rash, usually in a circular pattern that appears like a bullseye. The rash can also appear as non-itchy spots that are flat and pink and usually appear on the ankles, wrists, and forearms.
Another common tick whose disease has been on the rise lately is the Lone Star tick, which can cause a very strange symptom–developing an allergy to red meat or dairy. Research has shown that the allergy is assumed to be brought about by something called alpha-gal, a sugar found in red meat and high-fat dairy products. Alpha-gal is also found in the saliva of ticks, which can cause an immune response in the body.
What Should I Do If I See A Tick On Myself, A Family Member, Or Pet?
If you see a tick, it’s important to know the proper way to remove it. Simply pulling at it can result in pieces of the tick staying behind, possibly leading to infection. It’s best to use fine-tipped tweezers to pinch the tick as close to the skin as possible, slowly pulling it out. Clean the skin well, and flush the tick down the toilet or wrap it in tape. Keep an eye on the site where the tick was, observing it for any sort of rash or related symptoms. If you live in an area where ticks are prevalent, treat your clothes and any camping or outdoor gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. You should also use a spray that contains one of the following ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. When you come back inside, shower and check everyone in the family, including pets, for ticks. Check your clothing, and fluff the clothes in the dryer for 10 minutes to kill the ticks.
If you have any questions about tick-borne illnesses or think you may have come in contact with the pest, visit one of our TrustCare Express Medical Clinics so we can examine you and determine if any symptoms are related to ticks.