Nothing beats being outdoors and enjoying the summer weather with your loved ones. Unfortunately, bugs, especially ticks, are active in the warmer months too.
Ticks like to hang out in areas between wooded and grassy areas, such as lawns. They wait for their host on the tips of grasses and shrubs and grab onto them when they pass by.
Don’t worry, ticks can’t fly or jump!
The host doesn’t notice the tick bite because ticks can produce small amounts of saliva with painkilling properties. This allows the tick to suck the blood slowly for several days, which means they can give as well as receive diseases.
See your doctor right away if you have been bitten by a tick and experience any of the symptoms shown below. More details on the following symptoms are available at cdc.gov.
The most common symptoms of a tick-related illness are –
- Fever / chills: With all tick-related diseases, patients can experience a fever at onset.
- Aches and pains: Symptoms include headache, fatigue and muscle aches. With Lyme disease you may also have joint pain.
- Rash: The most common first sign of tick bite is a red rash, which spreads out from what looks like a bug bite. The following tick-related diseases can result in different types of rashes –
- Lyme disease, begins with a round rash at the site of the tick bite and may appear within 3-30 days, typically before the start of a fever.
- The southern tick-associated rash illness rash is nearly identical to that of Lyme disease, with a red, expanding “bull’s-eye” lesion that develops around the site of a tick bite.
- The Rocky Mountain spotted fever rash varies greatly from person to person in the way it looks, the location, and time it starts. Most often, the rash begins two to five days after the onset of a fever as small, flat, pink, non-itchy spots on the wrists, forearms and ankles and spreads to the trunk.
- Tularemia, a skin ulcer, appears at the tick bite. Along with the ulcer, there’s swelling of lymph glands in the area, usually in the armpit or groin.
- Ehrlichiosis can cause a rash in about 30 percent of patients (and up to 60 percent of children). The look of the rash ranges from a flat, red area to a flat, red patch of skin and may appear after the fever begins.
Creating a tick-safe zone in and around your home
Treating areas in your yard with tick pesticides can help reduce the amount of ticks. However, if you have health concerns around using chemicals, you can do other things to help avoid contact with ticks –
- Mow the lawn often
- Keep playground equipment, decks and patios away from the edge of your yard and trees
- Place a 3-foot wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas
Keeping ticks off your pet
It’s important to protect your pet from ticks with a tick preventive because they can get diseases from ticks that there are no vaccines for. Some things you can do to help keep ticks off your pet and out of your home –
- If your pet spends a lot of time outside, check for ticks daily.
- If you find a tick on your dog, remove it right away.
- Ask your veterinarian to do a tick check at each exam and about using tick preventives.
If your pet has a tick: Signs of tick-related illness may not show up for 7-21 days or longer after a bite. If you think your pet has been bitten by a tick, look for changes in behavior or appetite.
Note: Cats are extremely sensitive to a variety of tick preventives. Talk to your veterinarian before applying any tick preventive to your cat.
Source: cdc.gov (accessed on 04/06/2017).