Warm weather is coming and we are more inclined to go outside and enjoy outdoor activities. But it’s also the time where ticks are the most active, from April to September. So, to avoid the serious diseases they can carry, awareness and prevention are in order.
In the USA, there are multiple tick species that bite humans.
They are distributed east of the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific coast.
They can transmit tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
That species lives in the northeastern and upper midwestern US. Their cousins, the western blacklegged ticks are present along the Pacific coast.
They carry Lyme disease and Powassan disease.
These are found worldwide
They transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
They roam in coastal areas of the U.S. along the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico.
These ticks carry a form of Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
These very aggressive ticks are in the southeastern and eastern United States.
They can cause tularemia.
They can be found in Rocky Mountain states and southwestern Canada.
These ticks can carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia.
Symptoms To Look For
Lyme disease is a serious illness. If left untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Early symptoms of Lyme include:
- swollen lymph nodes
- Muscle and joint pains
- Skin rash
Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be a severe or even fatal illness if not treated in the first few days of symptoms. Symptoms of the disease are:
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle pain
- Rash can occur
Although tularemia can be life-threatening, most infections can be treated successfully with antibiotics. Symptoms of the disease include:
- Skin ulcer at the site of infection
- Swollen and painful lymph glands
Powassan disease can lead to long-term neurologic problems. Symptoms include:
- Memory loss
When a person is heading outside, they should keep in mind that ticks are generally found near the ground, in brushy or wooded areas. They tend to live in moist, humid environments. They climb tall grasses or shrubs and wait for someone to brush against them.
Before heading outside:
- Use a natural tick repellent such as Botanical Solutions or Yaya tick repellent
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and socks.
- Check clothing for ticks.
- Tumble dry clothes on high for 10 to 15 minutes or wash them in hot water.
- Shower thoroughly
- Tick-check your body with a mirror looking closely under your arms, around ears, inside your belly button, back of the knees, around the hair, between the legs, and around your waist.
If you find a tick, remove it with tweezers, pulling as close to the skin as possible. Early removal can minimize and often eliminate the chance of an infection.