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Tricks For Ticks: Prevent Bites And Recognize Symptoms

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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.

Recognize Them

In the USA, there are multiple tick species that bite humans.

Dog tickDog ticks also called wood ticks

They are distributed east of the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific coast.
They can transmit tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

 

Blacklegged tickBlacklegged ticks

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.

 

Brown dog tickBrown dog ticks

These are found worldwide

They transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

 

Gulf Coast tickGulf Coast ticks

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.

 

Lone star tickLone star ticks

These very aggressive ticks are in the southeastern and eastern United States.
They can cause tularemia.

 

Rocky Mountain wood tickRocky Mountain wood ticks

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:

  • fever
  • chills
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • 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:

  • Fever
  • headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • 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
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Exhaustion

Powassan disease can lead to long-term neurologic problems. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Memory loss

Prevention

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:

tick on clothWhen you return:

  • 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.

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