Although ticks are commonly thought of as insects, they are arachnids like scorpions, spiders, and mites. Ticks are among the most efficient carriers of disease because they attach firmly when sucking blood, feed slowly, and may go unnoticed for a considerable time while feeding.
It is important to remember that although ticks are thought of as being a threat during the warm weather months of spring and summer, they may also be prevalent during the cool weather of the fall and have even been observed during unseasonable warm weather during the winter. Despite the time of year, if you are going to be involved in outdoor activities, precautions should be taken to avoid tick bites and tick-borne diseases.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever can be transmitted by the American dog tick. It is characterized by fever, headaches, muscle aches, and a rash that starts on the hands and feet.
Human Monocytic Ehrlichiosis (HME) can be transmitted by the Lone Star Tick and has similar symptoms to the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, but without the rash.
Red meat allergy is a little-known side effect of a bite from the lone star tick. According to an article out of Vanderbilt University, this tick bite has been the likely cause of thousands of red meat allergy cases along the Eastern Seaboard. The allergy presents as hives, swelling, vomiting, diarrhea after eating red meat and can be a lifelong reaction.
Here are some tips when it comes to ticks:
Avoid tall grass and areas of overgrown vegetation. When hiking, stick to the center of the trail.
Spray safe tick control repellent on exposed skin and over clothing and shoes before venturing outside.
Tuck pants into boots or socks.
Perform a tick check when coming home from outdoor outings.
If you find yourself bitten by a tick remove it with a pair of tweezers by grabbing the head of the tick closest to the skin and ensure that you remove all parts of the tick’s mouth that may have punctured the skin.
Remove the tick as soon as possible and be sure not to crush it. Inform your physician that you have been bitten and inquire about the next steps.
Ticks hide in bushy areas, then hitch a ride on your clothing or on your pet’s fur. They will then burrow into your pet’s flesh and embed themselves, making them difficult to remove, so keeping your yard free of ticks is much easier than trying to remove them.
Note that many of these steps will also help keep out various other pests, so they’re always good habits to get into:
Trim brush and bushes back in your yard to dissuade ticks from living there. The more sunlight hitting your yard, the better, since ticks like warm and shady areas.
When you and your pet are out, prevent him or her from running into any wooded areas where ticks may live.
Keep your grass short and don’t overwater it.
Rake leaves and remove any yard debris when necessary.
Leaves, sticks, trash, and other items that pile up will provide the perfect hiding spot for ticks.
Use mulch around your trees and shrubs to dissuade ticks from making a home underneath them. You can also use mulch or gravel around the border of your house to create a physical barrier against ticks. This is especially suggested for those who live on the border of more wooded areas.
Give yourself and your pets a check before returning back inside, especially after being near heavily wooded areas. Ticks like warm, moist areas, so pay special attention to your armpits, knees, groin area and scalp, as well as your pet’s head, neck, ears and feet.
Need help with tick control? Pest Solutions is here for all your preventative measures against ticks.