- Ticks and Lyme Disease – Concord Pediatrics, P.A. – Pediatrics for Family Health
- What You Need to Know to Prevent Tick Bites and Illnesses
- Ticks and Travel: What You Should Know
- Worst Destinations for Ticks
- A Hidden Threat in Your Hotel Room
- Preventing Tick Bites and Illnesses
- What to Do If You Have a Tick Bite
- Warning Signs of Tick Diseases
- More from SmarterTravel:
- Tick bite: Diseases, symptoms, and risk factors
- Lyme disease
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- Colorado tick fever
- When to see a doctor
- Fight the Bite!
- Urgent Care and Walk-In Clinic for Tick Bites and Lyme Disease Treatment in Phoenixville, PA
- What is Lyme disease?
- Here’s Exactly What to Do if a Tick Bites You
Ticks and Lyme Disease – Concord Pediatrics, P.A. – Pediatrics for Family Health
My child has a tick attached to their skin! What should I do?
If you find a tick attached to you or your child's skin, there's no need to panic.Read through the information below. If you have additional concerns or questions, please call our office. (There are 5 Steps noted here!)
1. Remove the tick.
There are several tick removal devices on the market, but a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers will remove a tick quite effectively.
Use fine-tippedtweezersto grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible.
Pull upward with steady, even pressure.(See imagehereandhere.) Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. The goal is to remove the tick in one piece quickly.
- If pieces of the tick remain in the skin, gently try to remove them with clean tweezers. If you are unable to easily remove the pieces easily with tweezers then leave them. Do not worry; this does not increase the risk of Lyme Disease. Wash the site, and apply Bacitracin or Polysporin antibiotic ointment (over-the-counter) daily for 1 to 3 days- the body will naturally push the remaining pieces out as the skin heals. Monitor the site and call our office if you are concerned your child might have a local skin infection (if the bite area becomes red, swollen, or painful).
After removing the tick,thoroughly clean the bite areaand your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.
Avoid folklore remedies such as “painting” the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible–not to wait for it to detach.
2. After you remove the tick:
Wash the bite area gently and apply Bacitracin or Polysporin antibiotic ointment (over-the-counter) to the bite area daily for a few days while it heals.Monitor the site and callour office if you are concerned your child might have a local skin infection (if the bite area becomes red, swollen, or painful).
Please note: A small (1 to 2 inch) red or purple area at the tick site in the first 24 hours is a typical local reaction and doesnotmean a person has Lyme Disease.
If that reddish area continues to expand or becomes painful after the first 48-72 hours, please make an appointment for you child so we can evaluate the rash.
Clickhereto see a photo of a typical bite reaction- this isnotthe Lyme rash.
In some cases a single prophylactic or prevention dose of doxycycline (an antibiotic) may be appropriate after a tick bite.Our office follows guidance from the CDC, AAP, and NH DHHS, based upon the evidence based guidelines from the Infectious Disease Society of America.
A dose of doxycycline given to try to prevent Lyme Disease may be appropriate if your child had anengorged(very swollen/full of blood) deer tick attached to their skin. This medication is only effective for “prevention of Lyme” if given within 72 hours of removal of the tick.
Please call our office at (603) 224-1929 to make an appointment or with any concerns or questions. Currently there is limited safety data on the use of Doxycycline for children under 8 years of age. 2018 guidelines Doxycycline may be considered for both prophylaxis and treatment in patients of any age, including those under 8.
Your provider can discuss the best clinical course for your child. There areseveral effective antibiotic treatments (with options for children with antibiotic allergies) for children in all age groups if Lyme Disease is diagnosed.
Monitor your child (winter, spring, summer, and fall!) for signs and symptoms of Lyme Disease.
If your child develops a rash (anywhere on the body- not just at a bite site), a painful, red, or swollen joint, a prolonged fever, facial droop (Bell's palsy), or a headache that persists, see your doctor. We will follow the latest, most up-to-date CDC and AAP guidelines fortreatment.
3. Should I get the tick tested?
People who have removed a tick often wonder if they should have it tested.
You can read more about tick testing at theNH Department of Health and Human Services.The New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food offers free tick identification to New Hampshire residents. The intent is tomonitor the distribution of tick speciesin NH. Ticks submitted there willnotbe tested for disease-causing pathogens.
There are other labs that can test ticks (often for a fee), but in general, testing of individual ticks isnot usefulbecause:
- If the test shows that the tick contained disease-causing organisms (and chances are, a deer tick in NH will!), that does not necessarily mean that you have been infected. We do not treat a person tick testing.
- If you have been infected, you could develop symptoms before results of the tick test are available. You should not wait for tick testing results before beginning appropriate treatment.
- Negative results can lead to false assurance. For example, you may have been unknowingly bitten by a different tick thatwasinfected. We treat a person's symptoms, not tick testing.
However, you may want to learn toidentify various ticks. Different ticks live in different parts of the country andtransmit different diseases.
4. Should I get my child tested for Lyme Disease?
Many parents wonder about testing their child for Lyme Disease, especially after a tick bite.
Testing for Lyme diseaseshould notbe performed for children without symptoms or signs suggestive of Lyme disease. That means that after a tick bite, (no matter if a child was given a prevention dose of antibiotic or not) we should monitor for signs and symptoms of Lyme Disease.
Our office follows the2-Step Laboratory Testing Processas recommended by the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics. You will need to discuss the need for testing with your doctor.
In areas with endemic Lyme disease ( NH!), it is expected that the vast majority of erythema migrans (the “bull's eye rash”) is attributable toB burgdorferi(Lyme) infection, and antibiotic treatment is appropriatewithouttesting.
In many cases (because of where we live), treatment will also be started before testing for children who have suspected Lyme arthritis (big swollen, painful joint) or Bell's Palsy.
Please note, per The Red Book (the authority on Pediatric Infectious Diseases from the American Academy of Pediatrics):
- Development of antibodies (evidence that your body's immune system fought an infection) in patients treated for early Lyme disease does not indicate lack of cure or presence of persistent infection. Ongoing infection without development of antibodies (“seronegative Lyme”) has not been demonstrated. Once antibodies develop to Lyme Disease, the antibodies may persist for many years. So,tests for antibodies shouldnotbe used to check for the success of treatment.
- Occasionally there is a concern for Lyme Disease in a child who does not have the classic rash, arthritis (swollen joint), or Bell's Palsy. We will need to discuss testing using the 2-Step Testing Process for a child with a prolonged fever, body aches, headache, or fatigue. Patients with Lyme disease almost always have classic signs of infection (eg, erythema migrans, facial nerve palsy, or arthritis). Those more generalized symptoms (fever, fatigue, headache, body aches) commonly accompany these specific signs but almost never are the only evidence of Lyme disease. Serologic testing for Lyme diseaseshould notbe performed for children without symptoms or signs suggestive of Lyme disease and plausible geographic exposure.
You may also be interested in checking out the following links:
5. Learn about tick bite prevention, then go back outside and enjoy nature in New Hampshire!
Read more about ticks and Lyme Disease online at theCDCand Check out thisTick Bite Fact Sheetfrom the NH DHHS.
Some tips for avoiding tick bites:
- Stay on trails outdoors; avoid areas of overgrown brush and tall grasses.
- Wear light-colored clothing so ticks can be easily seen.
- Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, closed toe shoes with socks, and a hat. Tuck your pants into your socks and your shirt into your pants.
- Check yourself, your children, and your pets often for ticks (at bedtime and in the morning!), shower after returning indoors.
- Useinsect repellentcontaining DEET or permethrin (always follow directions). More infohere!
- After returning indoors, run clothes in the dryer on high heat to kill any ticks that may be on the clothing.
Create a Tick-safe Zone to Reduce Ticks in the Yard
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station has developed a comprehensiveTick Management Handbook[PDF – 8.53 MB]for preventing tick bites. Here are some simple landscaping techniques that can help reduce tick populations:
- Remove leaf litter.
- Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns.
- Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
- Mow the lawn frequently.
- Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents).
- Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees.
- Discourage unwelcome animals (such as deer, raccoons, and stray dogs) from entering your yard by constructing fences.
- Remove old furniture, mattresses, or trash from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide.
What You Need to Know to Prevent Tick Bites and Illnesses
Researchers in Connecticut are warning that tick populations are on the rise this year, so you need to be especially vigilant—not just at home, but also while traveling. If your trips take you anywhere within North America, Europe, or Asia, you could be at risk for ticks and the many diseases they cause.
Ticks and Travel: What You Should Know
Ticks may be best known for carrying Lyme disease, but they also carry numerous other diseases, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever (found in the U.S.). If you’re traveling abroad, some ticks found in other countries carry other alarming diseases. The CDC has a good breakdown here of tick-borne diseases that you can pick up abroad, including hemorrhagic fevers and encephalitis.
Worst Destinations for Ticks
According to the CDC, “Lyme disease risk is focused in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, and upper Midwest, with pockets of lower risk along the West Coast.
Nearly 95 percent of Lyme disease cases occur in 14 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
However, the range of the tick that transmits Lyme disease also is expanding.”
Eastern Canada, Europe (click here for a map that shows which countries have ticks), and Northern Asia all have had incidents of Lyme disease, so use preventative measures when traveling to those areas.
A Hidden Threat in Your Hotel Room
You may already be checking yourself every time you go for a hike, but did you know that you could also pick up a tick in a hotel room?
Paul Curtis, a board-certified entomologist at Terminix, warns: “Ticks and fleas are an often-unexpected pest in hotels—most guests are not expecting to encounter these parasites, but many properties allow pets in rooms that can harbor unwanted hitchhikers. Un bedbugs, fleas and ticks can be vectors of pathogens that cause disease.”
You may want to be extra careful in a pet-friendly hotel, as dogs can easily pick up ticks and then transfer them to your hotel furniture.
Preventing Tick Bites and Illnesses
You should be most careful when you’re heading outside—this includes everything from hiking in the woods to lounging in an urban park. IAMAT, the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers, advises:
- “Use a repellent containing 20 percent to 30 percent DEET or 20 percent Picaridin. Re-apply according to manufacturer’s directions.”
- “Wear neutral-colored (beige, light grey) and breathable garments, including long-sleeved shirts and pants. Tuck pants into socks.”
- “If available, apply a permethrin spray or solution to clothing and gear.” (Here’s a good round-up of bug-repellent gear: What to Pack if You’re Traveling to a Zika Virus Zone).
- “When hiking in wooded areas, stay in the middle of the trail and avoid tall grasses and shrubs.”
- “Use a tarp when sitting on the ground.”
- “Carefully examine your body, clothing, gear, and pets for ticks before entering a dwelling.”
- “Apply sunscreen first followed by the repellent (preferably 20 minutes later).”
When you get home or back to your hotel, you should check your entire body and your gear for ticks, take a shower, and put your clothes in the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes if possible.
What to Do If You Have a Tick Bite
If you do find a tick on your body, follow the CDC’s advice for removal:
- “Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.”
- “Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.”
- “After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.”
- “Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.”
You may wish to keep the tick in case you would to have it tested for disease later.
Warning Signs of Tick Diseases
The classic warning sign of Lyme disease is a red bullseye-shaped rash around a tick bite, but that does not happen in every case, so don’t dismiss your symptoms just because you don’t have a rash.
Fever, chills, aches, swollen lymph nodes, tiredness, headaches, and stiffness can all be symptoms caused by Lyme disease. Be sure to visit your doctor if you feel unwell, even if it is months after you were bitten.
More from SmarterTravel:
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Tick bite: Diseases, symptoms, and risk factors
A tick is a small eight-legged bug in the same family as spiders. Ticks suck blood to complete their lifecycle and regularly bite humans. Some transmit diseases although most are harmless.
Ticks can bite anywhere on the body. They are often attracted to moist areas, such as the groin or underarms.
They are common in many parts of the world, including the United States.
This article explores how to recognize when a tick bite is becoming dangerous and when to see a doctor.
Not all tick bites cause illness and most are harmless. However, some types of ticks can transmit certain diseases.
Treatment for many of these diseases involves taking a prescribed course of antibiotics.
Tick-borne diseases include the following:
Lyme disease can occur when a tick bite transmits a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi.
In the U.S., Lyme disease is most often transmitted by the black-legged tick. Black-legged ticks, or deer ticks, are mainly found in the north-eastern and upper-Midwestern part of the U.S.
Usually, the tick must be attached to the skin for 36 to 48 hours to pass on the disease. Symptoms may start occurring about 3 to 7 days from the time of infection.
Lyme disease symptoms might include:
- a headache
- joint and muscle aches
- a rash at the site of the bite that may start to resemble a bull’s-eye as it enlarges, commonly occurs.
Complications may occur if a person does not receive treatment while Lyme disease is in its early stage. Late-term symptoms can develop weeks or months after the initial bite.
These can include:
- nerve pain
- short-term memory problems
Rocky Mountain spotted fever
The American dog tick spreads Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) to humans. These ticks are active east of the Rocky Mountains and on the Pacific.
- a high fever
- a rash
- muscle pain
RMSF can lead to fatal blood vessel and organ damage if a person does not receive quick treatment.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people who receive treatment within 5 days of symptoms starting have fewer complications than those who get treated later.
Colorado tick fever
A bite from the Rocky Mountain wood tick can cause Colorado tick fever.
This tick is most common in the high-altitude western states at elevations. It is especially common in Colorado.
Symptoms usually take a few days to develop after the bite and may include:
- a fever that comes and goes
- body aches
Some people also develop vomiting, stomach pain, and a skin rash.
There is no specific treatment for Colorado tick fever. People can treat fever and muscle aches with over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. Most people only develop mild symptoms and recover in 1 to 2 weeks.
A bacterium called Francisella tularensis spreads a rare disease called tularemia.
The lone star tick, wood tick, and dog tick can transmit the infection. There are reports of tularemia in most states, but it is most common in the south-central part of the U.S.
There are different forms of tularemia depending on how the bacteria enters the body. Ulceroglandular is the form of the disease that can be transmitted through a tick bite. Symptoms may include a skin ulcer at the site of the bite, fever, and swollen glands.
Treatment usually includes taking antibiotics for several weeks.
Ticks vary in size and can be red, brown, or black.
Small ticks may measure around 1 to 2 millimeters (mm), which is about the size of a pinhead. Larger ticks tend to be about 3 to 5 mm. Ticks become larger as they consume more blood, and they may grow to about the size of a marble.
A tick bite does not always cause symptoms. When they do, the following may develop:
- a raised bump at the point of the bite
- a burning sensation in the area of the bite
The main way to tell the difference between a tick bite and bites from other bugs is that when a tick bites a human, it often stays attached to the skin for several days.
Most people notice a tick bite when they find the tick still attached.
Various types of ticks bite humans. In the U.S., ticks tend to be more common in the Midwest and on both coasts.
Ticks live in trees, grass, and shrubs. They are more active in April through September, as they typically prefer warmer months. Anyone who spends time outdoors, especially in wooded or grassy areas, is at risk for a tick bite.
The risk for developing a tick-borne illness depends where a person lives in the U.S.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 96 percent of people with Lyme disease caught it in one of 14 states, mostly in the eastern or upper Midwestern states.
When to see a doctor
A tick bite is often harmless, but knowing when to see a doctor could prevent a potentially fatal tick-borne disease.
Seek medical assistance if you cannot remove all of the tick. The longer a tick stays attached, the greater the risk becomes that a disease will develop.
Seek treatment if flu- symptoms or rashes develop after a tick bite. Rapid treatment greatly improves the chance of a full recovery.
A doctor should also assess any rash that develops at the site of the bite. Although a small bump may be normal, a larger rash, especially with a distinctive bull’s-eye pattern, may be a sign of Lyme disease.
It is important to remove ticks from the skin as soon as possible. Use a fine-tipped tweezer.
Grasp the tick as close to the surface of the skin as possible. While applying even pressure, pull upward away from the skin. Avoid bending the tick.
After removing the tick, people should make sure they have successfully removed the mouthpart of the tick. If the mouthpart remains in the skin, take steps to remove it.
Wash the skin with soap and water after removal.
Share on PinterestDEET spray can help prevent tick bites.
Ticks are common all over the U.S., which can make completely avoiding them difficult. Fortunately, preventing tick bites does not mean avoiding the outdoors.
The following measures can help reduce the chances of a tick bite:
- wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants and tucking them into socks when outdoors in wooded areas
- applying insect repellant containing 20 percent DEET to both skin and clothing
- wearing enclosed shoes when outdoors
- tying up long hair when in wooded or grassy areas
- checking for ticks after being outdoors
- showering as soon as possible after being outdoors in case a tick is attached to the skin
- considering wearing light-colored clothing when hiking or hunting, as these make it easier to spot a tick crawling on them
Click here for an excellent range of DEET products available for purchase online.
Ticks are parasites that are most common in Midwestern and coastal U.S. states.
Most tick bites are not harmful. However, some can cause a range of diseases, including Lyme disease, Colorado tick fever, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Some of these conditions might result in extreme complications.
Treatment for many of these infections involves antibiotic medication and OTC pain relief. Tick bites can be tricky to prevent, but insect repellent and clean clothing can help.
Fight the Bite!
Let’s start with you (and your family). Here’s what you need to do to Fight the Bite!
Wear protective clothing.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.
- Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
- Treat items such as boots, pants, socks, and tents with permethrin or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
- Permethrin-treated clothing will protect you after multiple washings. See product information to find out how long the protection will last.
- If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions.
- Do not use permethrin products directly on skin.
- Permethrin products can be found in most drug stores, home improvement stores, and online.
Use insect repellent.
The most important thing to know about insect repellent is that you should use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. They are the only repellents proven to be safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Look for these ingredients to be safe: DEET, IR3535, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
Get the most your EPA-registered insect repellent when you follow these tips:
- Always follow the product label instructions, especially when applying repellent to children.
- Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, or cut or irritated skin.
- Adults should spray insect repellent onto their hands and then apply to a child’s face.
- Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.
- Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under 3 years old.
- Re-apply insect repellent as directed.
- Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
- If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.
A few words on going “natural.”
- Natural insect repellents, or repellents not registered with EPA, are not known to be effective.
- To protect yourself against diseases chikungunya, dengue, and Zika, the Centers for Disease Control and EPA recommend using an EPA-registered insect repellent.
- Choosing an EPA-registered repellent ensures the EPA has evaluated the product for effectiveness. Visit the EPA website to learn more.
Now that you know what to do when you leave the house or go outdoors, let’s review what you can do to make sure where you live is bite free. Inside and outside your home, there are several things you can do.
Remove standing water where mosquitoes could lay eggs.
- Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water. The list can include tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flower pot saucers, or trash containers. Mosquitoes lay eggs in and near water.
- Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs.
- For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
- Use larvicides to treat large containers of water that will not be used for drinking and cannot be covered or dumped out.
- If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps. Cover open vent or plumbing pipes. Use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
If you haven’t picked up on it yet, water is a big attraction for mosquitoes. More than that, it is what gives them life. Your goal? Get rid of all standing water.
Mosquitoes can lay eggs in as little as a teaspoon of water and can develop in any water that stands for more than 5 days.
Kill mosquitoes outside your home.
- Use an outdoor insect spray made to kill mosquitoes in areas where they rest.
- Mosquitoes rest in dark, humid areas under patio furniture, or under the carport or garage.
- When using insecticides, always follow label instructions.
Keep mosquitoes your home.
- Install or repair window and door screens.
- Use window and door screens; do not leave doors propped open.
- Use air conditioning when possible.
Kill mosquitoes inside your home.
Despite your best efforts, mosquitoes can get into your home. Here are some tips to fighting the bite should they make it past the screens and doors.
- Mosquitoes rest in dark, humid places under the sink, in closets, under furniture, or in the laundry room.
- Mosquitoes can be surprisingly difficult to identify and often confused with the crane fly (seen below). The crane fly is attracted by light and comes indoors, leading folks to think it’s time to grab the fogger and rid their home of mosquitoes.
- If you do suspect mosquitoes have invaded your home, we recommend you seek the assistance of a professional and call a licensed pest control agency.
Avoid tick-infested areas.
The best way to avoid a tick bite is to avoid the areas where ticks prefer to hang out. This is especially important in May, June and July – right about the time you want to get outdoors! Since we are in the most beautiful outdoor location around, when you are out in the woods or on a trail, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Avoid contact with overgrown grass, brush and leaf litter
- Stick to the middle of the trail and stay away from the trail edges.
Use insect repellent.
- Similarly to mosquito prevention, you should use a spray repellent containing at least 20% DEET.
- Treat your clothes with permethrin, especially pants, socks and shoes. Permethrin kills ticks on contact.
- Permethrin can also be used on tents and some other camping gear.
Check yourself daily.
During tick season, it’s really important to stay on top of this one. Because ticks must usually be attached for at least a day before they can transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, early removal can reduce the risk of infection.
- Always check for ticks after being outdoors, even in your own yard.
- Pay special attention under your arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly
- button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and on the hairline and scalp.
- Shower soon after being outdoors – within 2 hours – to more easily find ticks.
If after checking for ticks, you find one attached, here’s what to do.
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin.
- If the mouthparts remain in the skin, do not be alarmed. Leave them alone and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, antiseptic, or soap and water.
A word on folk remedies…
While they may make for an interesting story, remedies such as using nail polish, petroleum jelly, or heat to make the tick detach from the skin are not recommended. Stick to the recommendations above and you should be fine.
Now that you know more about protecting yourself, let’s explore the four legged creatures that we may encounter that can bring ticks into our world without meaning to. Inside and outside your home, there are several things you can do.
Don’t forget your pets.
- Treat your dogs and cats for ticks as recommended by a veterinarian.
- Check your pets for ticks when they come indoors, especially in the summer months.
Create tick-safe zones in your yard.
Ticks need higher humidity levels to survive; they die quickly in drier environments.
- Remove leaf litter and clear tall grass and brush around houses and at the edges of lawns.
- Place wood chips or gravel between lawns and or play areas and wooded areas to create a dry barrier that is difficult for ticks to cross.
Keep the deer away.
When deer are abundant, ticks are as well. Here are a few tips to help:
- Remove plants that attract deer.
- Plant deer-resistant crops.
- Fences make great neighbors and great barriers for deer. They can discourage tick-infested deer from coming near homes.
Pesticide application to residential properties is an option, but one to be considered only when working with a licensed professional pest control expert and only when tick populations are at their local peaks.
Mosquito-borne diseases are spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Here in Western North Carolina, there are three big ones that you need to be aware of: La Crosse encephalitis, West Nile virus, and eastern equine encephalitis.
You’ve probably heard a lot about Zika, and if you’ve traveled to other parts of the world or country, the Chikungunya virus, dengue, and malaria. While you should be aware that these viruses exist, you are far more ly to be affected by the first three here in Western North Carolina and mosquitoes don’t bite just you.
When they bite your dogs and horses, mosquitoes carry diseases and parasites heartworm, West Nile virus and the Eastern equine encephalitis that can affect them as well.
Learn more about these and other viruses.
Ticks love high or overgrown grass, brush and leaf litter. They can’t jump or fly. Instead, they climb tall grasses or shrubs and wait for their “host” to brush against them. In this case, that can be you, your dog or cat, or your kids. mosquitoes, ticks can also spread disease when they bite.
Most of the tick-borne diseases in North Carolina are from a bacterial infection and can cause flu- symptoms in people. They can be treated with antibiotics if caught early. Untreated, they may lead to serious health problems, including death in rare cases.
Most notably, Rocky Mountain spotted fever(RMSF) and Lyme disease bacteria are spread through the bite of infected ticks. Ticks that carry RMSF include the American dog tick, the brown dog tick, and the Rocky Mountain wood tick.
The black-legged tick (or deer tick) can be found in wooded areas and is the culprit for Lyme disease here in western North Carolina. RMSF and other tick-borne diseases can be prevented by avoiding tick bites. Use insect repellent, remove ticks promptly and eliminate the places where ticks to hang out around your home.
Learn more about RMSF and Lyme disease.
Urgent Care and Walk-In Clinic for Tick Bites and Lyme Disease Treatment in Phoenixville, PA
Here are a few things that you should know about ticks and Lyme disease:
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is a bacterial illness that can cause severe and long-lasting health issues affecting the skin, joints, heart, and nervous system. Normally found on deer, mice, and other small rodents, deer ticks feed off the blood of their hosts. However, some ticks attach to unsuspecting humans and/or their pets and can transmit Lyme disease.
Ticks are most commonly found outdoors in:
- Warmer weather from April through September
- Moist environments
- Bushy areas
- Leaf piles
- Wooded areas
- High grass
Ways to decrease your risk of tick bites:
- Avoid areas where ticks are most abundant
- Walk in the center of trails
- Use a tick repellent containing DEET
- Wear clothing that covers the skin as much as possible when going outside
- Examine your cloths and pets for ticks once indoors
- Put clothes in a dryer set on the hottest setting
- Use a mirror to conduct a full-body tick check including:
- Under the arms
- Behind the ears
- In the scalp
- Inside the belly button
- On the back of the knees
- In and around all body hair
- Between the legs
- Around the waist
- Shower within 2 hours of being outdoors
What to do if you find a tick on your body or notice a tick bite:
- Use a tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible
- Pull the tick straight up applying gentle steady pressure
Disinfect the skin and wash your hands thoroughly
The most common symptoms of Lyme disease include:
- Bulls-eye rash (up to 30 days following tick bite)
- Flu- symptoms
- Extreme fatigue
- Muscle aches
More severe symptoms of Lyme disease include:
- Difficulty controlling face muscles
- Numbness or tingling in hands, feet, and/or back
- Pain and weakness in arms and legs
- Swelling and pain in joints
Methods of diagnosis include:
- Clinical history and examination of symptoms
- Blood tests
In most cases, Lyme diseases can be treated with antibiotics. However, early recognition and treatment of this disease is important to decrease the risk of serious complications. The duration of tick attachment is important to assess the risk of transmission of illness.
For ticks attached for more than 36 hours the physician may prescribe a prophylactic dose of an antibiotic within 72 hours of the tick removal to decrease your risk of developing Lyme disease. If a blood test confirms Lyme disease the physician may prescribe an antibiotic up to 4 weeks. The faster the diagnosis the quicker and more efficient the treatment will be.
AFC Urgent Care in Phoenixville offers a great option for treatment. All our physicians have practiced for many years in the northeast and are very knowledgeable in the treatment of Lyme disease. We are also open 7 days a week with no appointment necessary to help you with all your medical needs including tick, bee, mosquito and other insect bites!
Here’s Exactly What to Do if a Tick Bites You
There are lots of experiences you might hope to have while exploring the great outdoors. Taking in scenic views after summiting a hike, enjoying delicious food cooked over a campfire, and…finding a tick making itself home on your body you sent it a formal invitation? One of these things is not the other.
If you spot a tick somewhere on yourself, it’s normal to feel anything ranging from mild disgust to all-out alarm. But you actually don’t need to panic, because experts have some very clear steps for how to handle this unpleasant situation. Here’s exactly what you need to know about why ticks are officially The Worst, how to remove them properly, and how to avoid tick bites altogether.
If your mind jumps to Lyme disease as soon as you read the word “tick,” your instincts are on target. Ticks do indeed transmit this unpleasant illness. But they can pass other ones along to humans, too.
If you want to impress someone with your wealth of tick knowledge, you can tell them that ticks are ectoparasitic arthropods with the potential to be vectors of disease.
Translation: Ticks are tiny creatures sans backbones that latch onto your body and slurp up your blood gross, miniscule, multi-legged vampires.
As if that whole blood-sucking aspect weren’t bad enough, ticks can infect you with a whole host of illnesses during this process.
Between 2004 and 2016, the number of reported cases of tickborne illnesses in the United States doubled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
And, since ticks are most active from April to September—and they love to hang out in grassy, wooded areas that you may spend time in during warmer months—it’s smart to learn what might happen if you encounter these suckers.
The most notorious illness you can get from ticks is Lyme disease, a condition that comes about when blacklegged ticks (also called deer ticks) spread Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria to humans.
Lyme disease symptoms can vary how long it’s been since your tick bite. In the first 3 to 30 days post-infection, Lyme disease can cause a rash (this may expand and take the shape of a bull’s-eye as time passes), headache, fever, chills, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes, according to the CDC.
If your Lyme disease goes untreated, some of those symptoms— headache and joint pain—may intensify. You could also experience issues heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat, nerve pain, dizziness, and more, the CDC says.
Lyme disease treatment usually involves oral antibiotics. Taking these drugs for a few weeks typically knocks out most cases of Lyme. In a small number of cases, though, symptoms fatigue, pain, cognitive impairment, and joint and muscle discomfort can persist for at least six months after treatment.
This is what’s known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS). Experts don’t know why this affects some people and not others and have found that simply continuing with antibiotic treatment can do more harm to a person’s system than good, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Because of that, experts are still investigating the best way to treat PTLDS.
Lyme is far from the only tickborne illness. From 2004 to 2016, scientists found seven new diseases that ticks can spread to humans, adding them to a smorgasbord of conditions.
These include the bacterial infection anaplasmosis, which can lead to symptoms fever, nausea, vomiting, and more, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which can cause similar issues along with a splotchy rash, and other illnesses.
Here’s the long list of the various diseases humans can contract from ticks.