Archive for the ‘Ticks’ Category

Ticks – Removing a Tick from a Bite

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Tick bites need to be taken very seriously. There are simple steps to removing a tick from a bite. Although many times people have received a bite from a tick and are unaware they have been bitten, so there is no process of removing the tick. Anytime someone knows they have been bit by a tick they should act on the cautious side, as ticks are the carriers of many diseases. If you are unaware that you were bit and develop flu-like symptoms and are unsure why, it is best to go to a doctor, just in case. Even if you know that you were bit by a tick flu-like symptoms are still a side effect, it is only later that they may develop into something worse.

If you are bit by a tick and remove it you should keep the tick, just in case a week or so later you become ill. Keeping the tick will help your doctor figure out what could be wrong. Removing a tick is simple, but tricky as its mouth parts are embedded in the skin. Here is how to remove a tick:

  • Put gloves on.
  • Get tweezers to assist in the removal, do no use your fingers because you might squeeze the tick.
  • Put the tweezers as close as you can to the ticks head.
  • Forcefully pull straight forward, yanking the tick away from the skin.
  • Do not twist and or turn the tick when pulling.
  • Sometimes the mouth parts may stay embedded in the skin, if so take your tweezers and remove them. If they seem too deep it is best to go to a doctor to have them removed.
  • Once the tick is removed put it in a container with some alcohol, to kill it. Keep the tick in the container in case you become ill later.
  • Some people will just flush the tick down the toilet; it’s up to the individual.
  • Clean the bite mark thoroughly.
  • Put an antibiotic cream on the mark to help prevent an infection, although it will not help prevent any diseases the tick might have spread.
  • Make sure all items used during the removal process have either been thrown out or cleaned thoroughly.

Ticks also bite pets, like dogs and cats, if you are to find a tick on your pet these same steps can be used in removing the tick. Whether it’s a bite on a person or a pet, make sure to keep an eye on the bite mark for up to two weeks. During this time a disease may have been transmitted. For people it is also important to pay close attention to the symptoms they might develop.

Ticks – Tips to Help Prevent

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Ticks can be hard to prevent. There are many opportunities for a tick to latch onto a person; therefore, it is hard for people to prepare for tick attacks. Many times ticks get inside a home by latching on to a person or animal while they are outside. Once inside the home ticks will hide in crevices, in corners and in places that are elevated. To help keep them away, thoroughly vacuum your home even taking the vacuum extension to the walls and ceiling lines. Also keeping any pet beds or play things clean, and always check them for ticks. Overall if a tick does get inside it can not survive indoors, so it will not stay for too long. Therefore preventing ticks outdoors can be more crucial for a home owner.

Household pets, like dogs and cats, are often carriers of ticks. Ticks are usually attracted to dogs more than cats. It is crucial to check your pets thoroughly for ticks on a regular basis. Pets can also be taken to their veterinarian for medicine to help prevent ticks. Tick collars are also a popular choice to keep ticks off of dogs. Pets that are often outside are more likely to become victims to ticks, especially if they have a resting area that is outside. It is also important to check for ticks in the areas your pet might frequent; for instance near their water and food supply, a dog house, and or a play area.

Often time’s ticks attach to a dog while it is in the grass. Keeping your back yard kept up is also important in tick prevention. Having the lawn kept short, the shrubs trimmed, and bushes maintained are things that can be done with in the back or front yard of a house to help prevent ticks. A homeowner can even set up their landscaping in a particular manner to prevent ticks. Do this by keeping the greenery in one section, then putting a buffer, like gravel, between the other areas. Also if you have a play area or a patio area, then keep the greenery further away as ticks are more likely to be on the vegetation. Another tip for landscaping, if your home is near the woods, put a buffer of gravel or wood chips between your yard and the woods. There are also do-it-yourself prevention pest control sprays and dusts that can be used. Although it might be best to have your local pest control company come out to ensure it is done correctly, especially if you have pets. Any time you are outside doing yard work or just hanging out wear tick repellent that contains DEET in it. The best kinds have over 20% of DEET in them. If you do not like chemicals you can always just protect your skin with long sleeves and pants.

The repellent, long sleeves and pants are also good methods to use when out in the wilderness. While camping or hiking you always want to protect yourself, also wear light colored clothing so you can see ticks more easily. Some people even tuck their pants into their socks to be extra careful that ticks can not get to them. While in the wilderness stay away from touching trees and vegetation, and be careful around moist areas and water as all of these are popular places for ticks to attach onto people. No matter what always check your body for any ticks.

Ticks: The Diseases They Carry

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Ticks are the carriers of many diseases. Some of the diseases they carry can be cured with medicine while some can be fatal. Therefore people need to be aware of what can happen when bitten by a tick. Many times, people may not even realize they have been bitten by a tick until they start to develop symptoms that resemble certain diseases. Go to the hospital or to your doctor if you have any symptoms of the diseases ticks carry.

It may be hard to determine if the symptoms you feel are those of a disease a tick may carry. Many times the symptoms of diseases ticks carry are similar to those of the flu. The best way to figure out if it is the flu or a reaction from a tick bite is to go to a doctor. Also, consider the environment where you live and any place you have been recently; are these places prone to ticks? Do you own pets? These questions may help determine if you’ve been in contact with a tick since ticks are found in many places such homes, dogs, trees, grass, etc. Read more on the specifics of the tick, and where you can find the nasty buggers.

There are many varieties of ticks, but in the U.S. some of the most common are the deer tick, lone star tick, and brown dog tick. All of these ticks are carriers of diseases. These diseases include:

  • Lyme disease is carried by the deer tick and lone star tick. Bite symptoms include a circular-shaped rash, headache, fever, and fatigue. More serious issues such as heart problems may occur if left untreated. See your doctor immediately if you notice a circular rash.
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is carried by the American dog tick, Rocky Mountain wood tick, and the brown dog tick. The symptoms for RMSF may not appear right away and include headache, muscle pain, fever, nausea, and lack of appetite. Once infected, you’ll feel stomach pain, joint pain, and, in some cases, a rash. It is best to go see your doctor, as RMSF often requires hospitalization.
  • Tularemia is carried by the American dog tick, lone star tick and Rocky Mountain wood tick. Symptoms can take 3-5 days to develop. They include inflammation of the face and eyes, mouth sores, sore throat, pain and/or swelling in the lymph glands and possible skin ulcers. It is best to go to your doctor right away if you recognize any of these symptoms. Tularemia can become deadly if it is not properly treated.
  • Tick-borne encephalitis is carried by the lone star tick. Symptoms will begin to appear within 1-2 weeks. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, nausea, headache and malaise. Additional symptoms include confusion, drowsiness, problems with your senses and problems with your speech. This disease is rarely fatal, but should be taken very seriously. See your doctor right away.
  • Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI) is carried by the lone star tick. STARI symptoms often resemble symptoms similar to Lyme disease. The main symptom they share is the circular shaped rash, which can take up to a week before it becomes visible. The STARI rash looks more like a bulls-eye with the bite-mark in the center. Other symptoms include headache, fatigue, and muscle pains. Go to your doctor for antibiotics to get rid of the rash.

Ticks – Hardly an Innocent Pest

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Ticks are extremely small and dangerous parasites. After the mosquito, the tick is the largest transmitter of human diseases. The reason why the tick transmits so many diseases is because it feeds off blood. The tick will eat birds and mammals blood, posing a threat to humans and animals alike.

There are two families of ticks, the hard tick and the soft tick. All ticks have eight legs and a round shape to them. The hard tick is very common in the U.S and is recognized by its body’s hard exterior. Some of the most popular types of hard ticks include the brown dog tick, American dog tick, Rocky Mountain wood tick, deer tick, and lone star tick. Each of these ticks has some distinctions from one another. Here are a few traits of each type of tick:

  • Brown dog ticks can survive indoors. They feed on dogs more than any other type of animal and only the female body expands when feeding.
  • American dog tick is shaped like an egg and has white markings behind the head. It’s known for carrying the disease Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
  • Rocky Mountain wood tick is mostly found in the Rocky Mountains and in Canada. The male is brown in color but when it becomes engorged with blood, the sack becomes gray. The female is mostly all gray including the sack.
  • Deer tick is shaped like a teardrop, dark in color, and most well-known for being the main carrier of Lyme disease.
  • Lone star tick is a carrier of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Tularemia. The female has a white spot in the center of her body while the male has many spots in a “U” shape on its backside.

Ticks can be found outside or within a home. Outside, they can be found in grass, wooded areas, meadows, shrubs, and near bodies of water where animals can be found. People hiking, camping or just enjoying the outdoors should always be cautious of ticks because they can feel a human’s heat when it is near. Often times they are found near trails on the trees and plants, so staying in the center of the path can help prevent getting bitten. Leaning on a tree to tie your shoe is a perfect example of how a tick can attach itself to a person. Even in your backyard a tick can attach to a pet and then be brought into the house. This is the most common way for a tick to enter a home. Ticks only crawl; they do not have wings to fly nor do they jump. Therefore they either crawl into a home through a small opening or attach to a moving object, whether it’s a person or animal. Ticks are more active in the spring and summer because they like warm weather.

ticks

Ticks become quite enlarged after feeding. This photo shows just how large a tick can get. After some time, the expanded body will deflate to the tick's normal size.

Ticks are always looking for a new host to feed on. Some types of ticks will feed on a host for an hour or less; while other ticks can feed on a host for a few days. During the feeding period, a tick will actually expand in size as they fill up with blood. Once the feeding is finished, the tick will drop from the host.

Another thing that a tick does while feeding is mate. Once the mating has happened the female will drop off the host and set down her eggs. The female tick reproduces at a high rate, anywhere from 1,000-5,000 eggs on average. The eggs will shortly become larvae, also called seed ticks. The seed ticks can sometimes be more dangerous for people and animals, because there are so many of them in need of food. During the larvae period they will need to find a host to feed on. At this stage the tick only has six legs; once the tick has had its first feeding it will grow its last two legs. Once the tick has all eight of its legs, the tick is a nymph. The tick will continue to develop into an adult and the cycle will repeat itself.

Picture from www.creativecommons.org