Are You a Tick Target?

Ticks are dangerous, that’s a fact. They spread disease to humans and animals as well. One of these diseases is Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The fever is a bacterial illness caused by a tick bite. Symptoms can include nausea, fever, vomiting, headache and muscle pains. Usually a rash will appear, at the site of the bite, within a few days from the onset of symptoms.

Another dangerous disease spread by ticks is Lyme disease. It, too, is a bacterial illness. With in a week to four weeks from being bitten by a tick that is infected a rash will develop around the bite mark. The last can last for several weeks accompanied by headache, fever and other flu-like symptoms. Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose and can become a long-term disabling illness.

Ehrlichiosis is the least known of the tick diseases. It is also a bacterial infection and has symptoms similar to Rocky Mounted spotted fever. It can also cause a rash but that’s rare. Sometimes the rash will be at a location other than the area of the bite. Serious complications can occur if left untreated.

All three of these tick-transmitted diseases can cause serious health issues unless treated early. The problem is that many people don’t realize they’ve been bitten by a tick and therefore, are unable to report such to a doctor. If you are aware that you’ve been bitten write it on a calendar. If flu-like sickness occurs within two to fourteen days from the bite date see a physician immediately and mention the tick bite.

Ticks can cause a rare problem for humans called tick paralysis. When a tick is feeding it can produce a toxin that affects particular nerves. It can affect just the legs, just the arms or another part of the body. Although rare in humans it’s not uncommon in animals. When the tick is removed the paralysis will stop.

The mouth of a tick is difficult to unhook from the skin. To remove a tick safely use tweezers or gloved fingers. After getting a hold on the tick pull it slowly, straight back. Don’t squeeze, twist, crush or puncture the tick. After removal of the tick clean the area with alcohol or an antiseptic. Wash hands well.

To reduce the risk of getting a tick bite wear long sleeves and pants in high grass or other areas where ticks might be plentiful. Light colors of clothing can help you spot a tick that is merely crawling. Tuck pant legs into socks and tuck shirts into pants. This will make it impossible for ticks to crawl up trouser legs or down into the waistband.

Use insect repellants that contain DEET. After being outdoors check the entire body, particularly the head area, for ticks. Behind ears, in hair and around the neckline are often targets for ticks.

Ticks love pets so protect your home by protecting your pet. Check your dog or cat frequently for ticks and use quality tick and flea medications. Keep grass cut short which will reduce the risk of ticks jumping on your animals.

Check children frequently for ticks especially if they play outside often. It’s easiest to make a good examination of small children just before or during bath time, although all children should be checked initially after playing outdoors.

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