How Can I Prevent Bites From Ticks And Lyme Disease
You can keep yourself, your loved ones, and your pets from encountering Lyme ticks with a few easy, Be Tick AWARE prevention steps:
- Avoid high-traffic areas known to host ticks that carry Lyme disease like tall grasses and leaf piles
- Wear clothing to protect from ticks and Lyme disease, like long sleeves, pants, and socks
- Apply EPA-approved tick repellent properly
- Remove clothing to protect from ticks and Lyme disease, like long sleeves, pants, and socks
- Examine yourself for ticks daily as the risk of Lyme disease is always there
Learn more about preventing encounters with ticks that carry Lyme disease on our prevention page.
Who Is At Risk
Many occupations may be at risk, including forestry, farming, veterinarians, construction, landscaping, ground keepers, park or wildlife management, and anyone who either works outside or has contact with animals that may carry ticks
Similarly, any person who spends a lot time outdoors , especially in grassy or wooded areas may also be at risk.
Do All Tick Bites Carry Lyme Disease
Before you vow never to venture outdoors again, you need to know which ticks carry Lyme disease. Even though there are hundreds of tick species, only the blacklegged variety transmits the disease. These insects are always searching for a host. And both humans and animalsespecially white-tailed deer and chipmunksmake for a tasty meal.
Blacklegged ticks have flat, ovular bodies. They are orange-brown in color and only reach about 1/8 in length. Their color and size, however, change throughout different points of the tick life cycle.
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What If Mouthparts Of The Tick Remain In The Skin
Do not attempt to remove the mouthparts if they are left in the skin after tick removal. As long as the body of the tick has been removed it can no longer transmit infection. The mouthparts will come out over time naturally. Trying to remove these mouthparts can cause more trauma and may cause a local skin infection.
Odds Of Catching Lyme Disease From A Tick Bite
The chance of catching Lyme disease from an individual tick ranges from roughly zero to 50 percent. Risk of contracting Lyme disease from a tick bite depends on three factors: the tick species, where the tick came from, and how long it was biting you. Thats why the sooner you can remove the entire tick, the lower your chances of contracting a tick-borne disease.
Where we live makes a difference in these odds, too. We live in the upper Midwest, and unfortunately for us, a recent study found that up to 50 percent of blacklegged ticks are infected with Lyme disease. The Centers for Disease Control, however, state that it takes a tick 36 to 48 hours attached to the skin to transmit symptoms from tick bites and tick-borne disease.
Whether or not that timeframe is true, I cant say for sure. But I can say that Lyme disease is preventable, and taking a proactive approach to avoiding tick bites can save you a lot of aggravation. If you do spot a tick on yourself or your child, take them to the doctor or Firelands Regional Medical Center QuickCare, where they may be prescribed antibiotics. You can even opt to have the tick tested for Lyme disease.
Most of the time tick bites are harmless and symptoms from tick bites are rare. However general symptoms from tick bites include:
Dr. Mark Schmiedl
- Pain or swelling on the bite site
- Burning sensation on the bite site
- Red spot or rash near the bite site
- Full body rash
- Muscle or joint pain or achiness
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What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
According to the Mayo Clinic, the early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease include the following:
The Mayo Clinic also states that when the disease is not treated quickly, new symptoms can crop up in the following weeks or months, including:
Are Deer Ticks The Only Species That Carry Lyme Disease
Technically, ticks do not carry Lyme disease, but they can carry pathogens that cause Lyme disease. And deer ticks are not the only species that are capable of transmitting Lyme disease, though they are known to be the worst offenders.
In fact, studies have shown that up to 90 percent of deer ticks in northeastern states may be infected with Lyme disease. In addition, deer ticks can also transmit other diseases, including Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis.
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Which Birds Are Most Likely To Spread Ticks And Lyme Disease
Birds play an underrecognized role in spreading tick-borne disease due to their capacity for long-distance travel and tendency to split their time in different parts of the world patterns that are shifting due to climate change.
Knowing which bird species are able to infect ticks with pathogens can help scientists predict where tick-borne diseases might emerge and pose a health risk to people.
A new study published in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography used machine learning to identify bird species with the potential to transmit the Lyme disease bacterium to feeding ticks.
The team developed a model that identified birds known to spread Lyme disease with 80% accuracy and flagged 21 new species that should be prioritized for surveillance.
Lead author Daniel Becker, a Postdoctoral Fellow at Indiana University, says, We know birds can infect ticks with the Lyme bacterium however, until now, no one has systematically studied the ecological and evolutionary drivers that influence which bird species are most likely to host and spread Borrelia burgdorferi on a global scale. We set out to fill this gap by identifying traits of bird species that are most likely to pass Lyme to feeding ticks.
Are Some Locations More At Risk Than Others
Yes and no. There are areas in which the bacteria is endemic meaning the disease is established and present more or less continually in that community.
In Canada, blacklegged tick populations have been confirmed or are growing in the following areas:
- Southern British Columbia.
- Southern New Brunswick and Grand Manan Island.
- South shore and northern mainland Nova Scotia.
However, it is important to note that ticks can be spread by birds, in particular songbirds that feed off the forest floor. Because these birds are migratory, there is the potential for new populations of the bacteria to spread across the country. This fact means that you do not have to be in an endemic or high-risk area to be at risk of contacting ticks and the disease.
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How Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
In areas where ticks are found, people should know about the risk of Lyme disease and should take precautions to protect themselves. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease so it can be detected and treated promptly. PHAC states that removing ticks within 24 to 36 hours after the tick bite usually prevents infection.
PHAC has also prepared a Lyme disease tool kit which provides material to raise awareness and educate.
Deer Contribution To Tick Reproduction
Deer contribute to the spread of Lyme in that they provide that last blood meal to the adults. Those ticks will lay thousands of eggs at a time and boost the population of younger ticks who will be out in the spring to spread Lyme. Ticks contract Lyme from the mice in which they receive their first blood meal.
In less frequent cases, a nymph deer tick will choose a deer as a host. The blood meal from the deer is when the nymph deer tick might actually be cleared of the Borrelia infection.
There are regular references to the fact that nymph ticks spread more Lyme than adults. This fact was mostly attributed to the fact that nymphs are smaller, therefore less noticeable and will have a great chance of staying embedded long enough to transmit the disease. But, as in all things Lyme disease related, the situation is complex.
If youre concerned about ticks spreading Lyme disease on your property, please consider our tick control program. Call today to learn more.
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How To Remove A Tick
Removing a tick is the same for humans and animals. Its important you do not crush or damage the tick because it could cause Lyme bacteria to pass from the tick into your bloodstream.
How to remove a tick.
What Causes Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria that is spread to humans by tick bites. The ticks that carry the spirochete are:
Black-legged deer tick
Western black-legged tick
Ticks prefer to live in wooded areas, low-growing grasslands, and yards. Not all ticks carry the Lyme disease bacteria. Depending on the location, anywhere from less than 1% to more than 50% of the ticks are infected with it.
While most tick bites are harmless, several species can cause life-threatening diseases. Tick-borne diseases include:
Rocky Mountain spotted fever
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Is This Great News For The Fight Against Lyme Disease
Deer have always been immune to Borrelia, so why is Lyme disease so bad and getting worse? Well, the ticks that bite deer are not the same ticks that later bite you.
Adult ticks like bigger hosts such as humans or deer. If an adult tick chooses a deer, they are NOT choosing a human. They are in fact getting their last blood meal to get the nourishment they need to lay their eggs before their life cycle ends. Generally speaking, younger ticks choose smaller hosts, not deer.
What You Need To Know About Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is an infection caused by the spiral-shaped bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which is most commonly transmitted by a tick bite.
There are over 300,000 estimated new cases of Lyme disease in the United States each year.
The symptoms of Lyme disease depend on the how long the infection has been present in the body. The first sign of Lyme disease is often an expanding round or oval red “bullseye” rash.
If left untreated, people may develop neurological symptoms and heart problems, and have an approximately 60 percent chance of developing Lyme arthritis.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Tick Bites
The Mayo Clinic notes that the majority of tick bites are painless. The symptoms include redness, swelling and a sore on the skin.
If youre bitten by a tick, youll need to carefully remove it as soon as you can, grasping it by the head with tweezers and gently pulling in a slow and steady upward motion. Take care not to squeeze or twist the tick, and dont handle it with bare hands.
If you can, seal the tick in a container and place it in the freezer. If you develop symptoms, this will help the doctor identify the tick that bit you. After youve removed the tick, wash your hands and the area where you were bitten with warm water, soap, rubbing alcohol or an iodine scrub.
Do keep in mind that there are several tick-borne diseases, so the Mayo Clinic does state you should call your doctor if:
And if you experience a severe headache, difficulty breathing, paralysis or heart palpitations, the Mayo Clinic recommends calling 911 or your local emergency number.
Who Is At Risk In Ohio
Anyone who spends time outdoors can be at risk for Lyme disease. The tick that transmits Lyme disease in Ohio, the blacklegged tick, is most often found in wooded, brushy areas. People who frequent these settings may be at increased risk of contracting Lyme disease.
However, it does not take a hike in the forest to encounter blacklegged ticks. The property around many homes can also provide suitable habitat for ticks, particularly those in yards that are next to woods or brushy areas or those with tall grass or leaf litter. That is why it is important to take the necessary steps to prevent tick bites.
Ohioans of all ages get sick with Lyme disease, but data collected by the Zoonotic Disease Program suggest that males are more at risk for Lyme disease than females. Boys between the ages of ten and 14 years appear to be at particularly high risk. Many cases of Lyme disease are reported in females between the ages of five and nine.
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How Do I Know If I Have A Tick Bite
Many people who develop the disease do not remember seeing ticks or being bitten. Tick bites commonly occur from May to September in North America, although blacklegged ticks can be active most of the year. Ticks sometimes move around on the body but they usually attach themselves to the skin and stay in one place. Before feeding, ticks look like small, brown scabs or freckles. After feeding, ticks may swell considerably, and could be as big as a raisin or a small grape.
Follow the link for more information about blacklegged ticks from the Government of Canada.
How To Avoid Getting A Tick Bite
You might be at risk if you live, work in, or visit a wooded area, or an area with tall grasses and bushes .
You may also be at risk if you are involved in outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and gardening.
You may be bitten by a tick and not even know it.
Heres what you can do to avoid getting a tick bite.
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The Chance Of Getting Lyme Disease
Not all ticks in England carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
But it’s still important to be aware of ticks and to safely remove them as soon as possible, just in case.
Ticks that may cause Lyme disease are found all over the UK, but high-risk places include grassy and wooded areas in southern and northern England and the Scottish Highlands.
Ticks are tiny spider-like creatures that live in woods, areas with long grass, and sometimes in urban parks and gardens. They’re found all over the UK.
Ticks do not jump or fly. They attach to the skin of animals or humans that brush past them.
Once a tick bites into the skin, it feeds on blood for a few days before dropping off.
How Can You Prevent Lyme Disease
The best way to protect against Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites. Check the detailed risk areas map to find out where infected ticks are most likely to be found. Remember, as tick populations spread, the risk of acquiring Lyme disease will occur outside these areas in the future. Ticks can be dispersed out of these areas by migratory birds so there is a low risk of being bitten by a tick outside of the known risk areas.
It is recommended that Canadians travelling to highly Lyme endemic areas of the US and Europe, apply permethrin treatments to their clothing or use clothing pre-treated with permethrin. These products can be obtained in some travel clinics or from outdoors retailers when in the US.
Ticks can be infected with more than one type of bacteria that can cause human illness. Guarding against tick bites will protect you from more than just Lyme disease.
Here are some ways to protect yourself if you venture into wooded or forested areas within risk areas for Lyme disease:
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How Do I Avoid Getting Bitten By A Tick
The best way to protect you against Lyme disease and other tickborne illnesses is to avoid tick bites. This includes avoiding tick-infested areas. However, if you live in or visit wooded areas or areas with tall grass and weeds, follow these precautions against Lyme disease and other tickborne diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis and tularemia: