Ticks are blood-sucking, disease-carrying nuisances that have only one thing in mind: feeding. Approximately 90 species of ticks (hard-shell and soft-shell) call the United States home. And, contrary to popular belief, they don’t only dwell in the rural areas. Ticks are just as happy living in concrete jungles as they are in wooded areas. What’s more, experts say tick populations are growing.
Tick populations are growing across the country due to strange and changing weather patterns. More ticks equals more tick bites, which may lead to more cases of infection and Lyme disease. To keep the ticks away, wear appropriate clothing, use bug repellant spray and check for ticks regularly. If a tick has latched on, remove it safely and watch for signs of infection. Discover what you should watch out for below!
Do You Know How to Remove a Tick Safely?
Why Tick Hoards Are Growing
Thanks to favorable weather conditions and an abundance of food, tick hoards are growing. A string of mild winters has resulted in ticks emerging earlier in the year, which means they have more time to breed. Ticks are usually active from April through October. Additionally, warm weather has resulted in an abundance of certain food sources, which has increased the animal populations that ticks rely on for food.
Tick Bites Can Be Dangerous
The vast majority of tick bites are harmless. However, some ticks can transmit diseases, such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Colorado tick fever and Tularemia. Since a tick bite is a puncture in the skin, it is also susceptible to bacterial infections. Localized infections are common.
How to Protect Yourself from Ticks
Ticks live everywhere! Fortunately, there are some easy precautions you can try to keep the bloodsuckers at bay.
- Wear loose, light-colored clothing that covers lots of skin.
- Spray clothing, skin and gear with an insect repellent approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), such as DEET.
- Limit contact with ticks by staying out of grassy, weedy areas.
- Shower within two hours of coming indoors.
- Inspect clothing and skin for ticks. Ticks love to hide in warm, hidden areas, such as the armpits, groin, belly button, scalp and ears.
Even the most diligent preparations will not keep all ticks away. Ticks are crafty critters. They patiently wait for the best opportunity to feed, and they latch on to places where they’re not easily found.
How to Remove Latched-On Ticks
If ticks are removed within 24 hours of attaching to a host, the risk of contracting Lyme disease is greatly reduced. For this reason, ticks must be removed as soon as they are found.
To safely remove a tick, grasp it at the head (where it’s latched on to the skin) with a pair of tweezers. Pull gently until the tick gives way. Do not grasp the tick on its body or attempt to roughly remove the tick, as this can leave the head of the tick embedded in the skin.
Stay alert for signs of infection, including rash, redness, swelling and fever. Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, chills, muscle aches, fatigue, heart palpitations, dizziness and memory issues. In the case of a suspected infection, seek medical attention. Early intervention is key when it comes to infected tick bites and Lyme disease transmissions.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension!
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