Keep A Lookout For Symptoms From Tick Bite This Summer
Have you checked yourself or your child for tick bites lately?
If you havent already heard, this summer is a particularly booming year for tick populations across the country and in the state of Ohio. A black-legged tick , the kind that sometimes carries Lyme disease, was spotted just to the east of us in Vermilion earlier this summer. And Ohio is on the list of 24 states that contains counties with newly documented populations of deer ticks.
Tick bites are common. Some people are unaware of a tick bite at first. Be sure to check yourself and your children often, especially throughout the summer months when tick populations grow. Ticks are especially attracted to warm, moist areas of the skin like armpits, groins, or hair. Once they bite you, a tick may stick around drawing your blood for up to 10 days. The sooner you spot and remove a tick, the better.
Myth: You’ll Know You Have Lyme Disease From Your Symptoms
Other than the bulls-eye rash that may or may not appear around the tick bite, Lyme disease doesn’t have any unique symptoms that distinguish it from other illnesses, according to WebMD. The earliest symptoms of Lyme disease are often fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, and a fever. All of these symptoms could also be caused by a simple cold or the flu, and most people experiencing them probably wouldn’t think that Lyme disease was the most likely explanation.
A few weeks after being bitten, some people with Lyme disease develop additional symptoms like shortness of breath, dizziness, increased heart rate, nerve pain, joint pain and swelling, tingling in their hands and feet, and problems with their memory. If the infection is left untreated for long enough, Lyme disease can even cause neurological and cardiac problems as well as joint issues that mimic arthritis, according to UpToDate.
Since the symptoms are wide-ranging and similar to those of other illnesses, it’s nearly impossible to recognize Lyme disease based on its symptoms. Indeed, people may not suspect Lyme at all unless they find a tick on them or remember getting bitten at some point.
Can I Prevent Lyme Disease
Not all cases of Lyme disease can be prevented. But you can protect yourself from tick bites. If you go into an area where ticks live, be sure to:
- Stay in the middle of the trail instead of going through high grass or the woods.
- Wear closed shoes or boots, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants. Tuck pant legs into shoes or boots to prevent ticks from crawling up legs.
- Use an insect repellent.
- Consider treating your clothing and gear with permethrin to repel ticks.
- Wear light-colored clothing to help you see ticks more easily.
- Shower and wash hair after being outside to remove ticks before they attach.
- Remove any ticks you find right away.
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How You Get Lyme Disease
If a tick bites an animal carrying the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, the tick can become infected. The tick can then transfer the bacteria to a human by biting them.
Ticks don’t jump or fly. They climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something they’re on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood.
Generally, you’re more likely to become infected if the tick is attached to your skin for more than 24 hours. Ticks are very small and their bites are not painful, so you may not realise you have one attached to your skin.
Lyme Disease: Prevention Detection And Treatment
Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne illness in the U.S. Most cases happen in the Northeast, the upper Midwest, and regions of the Pacific Northwest, though you can contract it in other parts of the country. Most people develop Lyme disease during the spring, summer, and fall. But it is possible to contract Lyme in the winter.
Lyme disease is transmitted through the bite of a tick infected with a bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi.
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What Happens At Your Appointment
The GP will ask about your symptoms and consider any rash or recent tick bites you know about.
Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. It has similar symptoms to other conditions and there’s not always an obvious rash.
2 types of blood test are available to help confirm or rule out Lyme disease. But these tests are not always accurate in the early stages of the disease.
You may need to be retested if you still have Lyme disease symptoms after a negative result.
Can My Animal Get Infected Despite Being Vaccinated
Yes. Some animals have been infected despite vaccination. The most common reasons are low or short-lasting vaccine antibodies in the individual animal. It is advisable to monitor the vaccine response annually to ensure the animal develops sufficient antibodies in response to vaccination. Vaccine antibodies can be quantified with the Lyme Multiplex assay as early as two weeks following vaccination or anytime afterwards.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
In contrast to human cases of Lyme disease, where three different stages are well known, Lyme disease in dogs is primarily and acute or subacute arthritis. The acute form may be transient and may recur in some cases. The devastating chronic stage in humans with systemic disease has rarely been seen in dogs.
Dogs show sudden lameness and sometimes signs of severe pain. One or more joints may be involved. Joints are often swollen, hot, and painful upon manipulation. Dogs may have fever and be off-feed and lethargic. Some become severely depressed and are reluctant to move. Lameness may recur after a period of recovery lasting several weeks.
Lameness in dogs occurs an average of two to five months after tick exposure.
The first stage of human Lyme disease, a skin rash called erythema chronica migrans, is rarely seen in dogs. Some symptoms associated with the later stages of Lyme disease in humans have also been reported in rare instances in dogs. They include heart block, kidney failure, and neurological changes such as seizures, aggression, and other behavior changes.
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How To Prevent Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disorder in the United States. It can affect your joints, nervous system, heart, skin, and eyes. It’s transmitted through the bites of certain species of ticks known as black-legged or deer ticks. Adult deer ticks are about the size of sesame seeds and nymphal ticks can be the size of the period at the end of this sentence.
Reducing exposure to ticks is your best defense against contracting Lyme disease. There are a variety of methods you can use to prevent and control Lyme disease.
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How To Avoid Tick Bites
To reduce the chance of being bitten:
- cover your skin while walking outdoors and tuck your trousers into your socks
- use insect repellent on your clothes and skin products containing DEET are best
- stay on clear paths whenever possible
- wear light-coloured clothing so ticks are easier to see and brush off
Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented Or Avoided
The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid being bitten by ticks. When you are outdoors, follow these guidelines:
- Avoid areas that are wooded, brushy, or have tall grass.
- Walk in the center of trails.
- Use an insect repellent with at least 20% DEET. It can be put on clothing or sparingly on the skin. Dont apply it to the face or hands of children.
- Treat clothing, tents, or other gear with repellents containing 0.5% permethrin.
- Wear light-colored clothing. This makes it easier to see and remove ticks from your clothes.
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants. Tuck your pant legs into your socks or boots for added protection.
After you get home, check everything and everyone for ticks.
- Bathe or shower as soon as you can to wash off any ticks that have not attached to you.
- Check your entire body for ticks. Use a mirror for places you cant see. Check your children and your pets. Common tick locations include the back of the knees, groin area, underarms, ears, scalp, and the back of the neck.
- Check any gear you used, including coats, backpacks, or tents.
Tumble dry clothes or blankets on high heat in the dryer for 10 to 15 minutes. This should kill any ticks. If clothes are dirty, wash them in hot water and dry on high heat for 60 minutes.
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What Are The Stages Of Lyme Infection
There are three stages:
- Early localized Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like fever, chills, headache, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, and a rash that looks like a bulls-eye or is round and red and at least 2 inches long
- Early disseminated Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like pain, weakness, or numbness in your arms and legs, changes in your vision, heart palpitations and chest pain, a rash , and a type of facial paralysis known as Bellâs palsy
- Late disseminated Lyme: This can happen weeks, months, or years after the tick bite. Symptoms might include arthritis, severe fatigue and headaches, dizziness, trouble sleeping, and confusion.
About 10% of people treated for Lyme infection donât shake the disease. They may go on to have three core symptoms: joint or muscle pain, fatigue, and short-term memory loss or confusion. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. It can be hard to diagnose because it has the same symptoms as other diseases. Plus, there isnt a blood test to confirm it.
Experts arenât sure why Lyme symptoms donât always go away. One theory is that your body keeps fighting the infection even after the bacteria are gone, like an autoimmune disorder.
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Myth: Alternative Medicine Treatments Are Effective For Lyme Disease
When antibiotics don’t work for Lyme disease, many people might turn to alternative, more natural treatments. Indeed, a survey of people with Lyme disease conducted by LymeDisease.org found that many report getting a lot of relief from alternative treatments. However, the Mayo Clinic stresses that antibiotics are the only evidence-based treatment for Lyme disease, and that alternative treatments can be dangerous as well as ineffective. An investigation by Bloomberg found that some alternative treatments were linked to “dozens of reports of significant harm, including several deaths.”
Unfortunately, one study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that natural and holistic alternative treatments are heavily marketed to people with Lyme disease. The study also found that the treatments being advertised as effective treatments were not backed by scientific evidence. The authors concluded that many people with Lyme disease, especially those who experience persistent symptoms, are drawn in by unproven alternative treatments because of negative experiences with and limited symptom relief from conventional medicine.
The bottom line with alternative treatments is discernment and the supervision of a good doctor. People experiencing persistent symptoms may find significant symptom relief from alternative treatments. However, no alternative treatment should replace antibiotic therapy or be undertaken without a doctor’s advice.
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Myth: Only Deer Ticks Transmit Lyme Disease
You may have heard that only one kind of tick — the deer tick — can carry Lyme disease. This is technically true, and that kernel of truth leads many to assume that only one species of tick carries Lyme disease. And that’s not true. According to the Global Lyme Alliance, “deer tick” is the commonly used name for black-legged ticks. There are two varieties of black-legged ticks: Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus. Ixodes scapularis are more common on the east coast and in the northern states in the center of the U.S., while Ixodes pacificus only exist on the west coast, per Johns Hopkins Medicine. It’s important to note that both varieties of black-legged ticks can carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease and transmit that bacteria to humans.
Additionally, deer tick isn’t really an accurate name for black-legged ticks. Though deer do frequently carry these ticks, they’re also carried by several kinds of animals including mice, raccoons, squirrels, and even birds and lizards, per The Humane Society. However, the name “deer tick” led many to believe that deer are solely responsible for the spread of ticks that carry Lyme disease. This created a fundamental misunderstanding of how Lyme disease spreads, where it spreads, and who’s at risk.
Spray Your Clothing And Shoes With Tick Repellent
Typically I recommend natural products, but you have to weigh the benefits and risks here. Everyone has their own opinion about it so you must decide what works best for you.
In the past, Ive made my own essential oil mosquito and tick repellents and tried a variety of natural commercial repellents, and personally havent found them to be as effective. I dont like suggesting the use of chemicals ever.
But, as someone who gets eaten up by every bug within a 5-mile radius , Ive had to lower my expectations in this area.
Perhaps I havent found the right natural product that works for me yet. If you have, thats great. Please share what works for you in the comment section below.
Use Tick Repellent
But, based on my situation, Ive come to the following conclusion: Because I contracted Lyme twice, I want to reduce the chances of ever getting it again. And, of course, I want to protect my family.
I recently overcame my fear of going into my backyard again. And trust me, the fear is real. Ask anyone with chronic Lyme. Plus, when you have children to protect you want to do everything you can to protect them.
Currently, I use a Deet Repellent when Im in areas known to have high tick populations. Even though I dont like the chemicals, I hate Lyme more.
You can find it here: Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent.
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What Do You Do If Theres A Tick Under Your Skin
Use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers to remove it as soon as possible. Pull upward with steady pressure. If parts of the tick are still in your skin, try to get those with the tweezers, too. After everything is out, clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
You probably wonât get infected if you remove the tick within 36 to 48 hours.
How do you throw away a tick?
Put it in soapy water or alcohol, stick it to a piece of tape, or flush it down the toilet.
Should I Remove A Tick And How
Yes, remove a tick. But do not manhandle the tick by squeezing it, putting Vaseline over it, or holding a hot match to it, as this may increase the chance of transmitting disease.
The tick should be removed with fine pointed tweezers. Grasp it from the side where it meets the skin, and, using steady gentle pressure, gently pull in the opposite direction from which it embedded, until the tick is released. Expect to see the skin tent as you gently pull. Place the tick in a lidded container or zip-lock bag. Wash and disinfect the bite site, your hands, and your tweezers. Avoid handling the tick.
If you use a tick removal device like a tick scoop or tick key, follow the directions given on the package for safe and effective use.
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Check Your Body For Ticks
Especially after spending time outdoors. And especially if you have a pet that lives indoors.
Use a full-length mirror to check your entire body, taking special care to check the warmest areas, including:
- under where elastic clothing straps have been
- inside the belly button
- the scalp and your hair
- behind the knees
all based on research. Simply click below to check it out.
Perform Daily Tick Checks
Check your body for ticks after being outdoors, even in your own yard. Search your entire body for ticks when you return from an area that may have ticks. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body and remove any tick you find. Take special care to check these parts of your body and your childs body for ticks:
- In and around the ears
- Inside the belly button
- In and around all head and body hair
- Between the legs
- Around the waist
Check your clothing and pets for ticks because they may carry ticks into the house. Check clothes and pets carefully and remove any ticks that are found. Place clothes into a dryer on high heat to kill ticks.
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Identifying Lyme Disease Symptoms
A deer tick usually needs to be attached to you for 24 to 48 hours to transmit Lyme disease, but other illnesses can be transmitted more quickly. Initial symptoms of Lyme disease that start 3-30 days after a deer tick bite include:
- an unusual rash that is spreading and often looks like a bullseye
- fever and chills
How Do Ticks Spread Lyme Disease
Ticks feed on mice, dogs, deer, horses, and sometimes people. They have eight legs, but are so tiny, they might look like a speck of dirt or the head of a pin. You’re most likely to run into them in grassy or wooded areas. In spring and summer, you’re more likely to have a lot of skin exposed , so it gives ticks a lot of opportunity to get on your skin.
You don’t feel anything when the tick first bites you. You probably won’t even know the tick is feeding. After an infected tick bites you, it can release the spirochetes into you. If the tick has been there a while , there is a small chance that you can get Lyme disease.
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