What Can I Do To Lower My Chances Of Getting Lyme Disease Or Any Other Disease From Ticks
Prevention begins with you! Take steps to reduce your chances of being bitten by any tick. Ticks are most active during warm weather, generally late spring through fall. However, ticks can be out any time that temperatures are above freezing. Ticks cling to vegetation and are most numerous in brushy, wooded or grassy habitats. When you are outside in an area likely to have ticks , follow these simple steps to protect yourself and your loved ones:
Should I Be Tested For Lyme Disease After A Tick Bite
Lyme testing relies on detecting antibodies the bodys reaction to the germ not the germ itself. It takes time for the body to make antibodies, at least a couple of weeks after you have become infected. Someone with symptoms of very early Lyme disease is likely to have a negative Lyme antibody test. On the other hand, false positive Lyme tests can happen, so someone without symptoms of Lyme disease who tests positive is unlikely to really have the disease. Testing for Lyme disease shortly after a tick bite is not helpful, says Dr. Baer and may lead to a prescription for a medication that you just dont need.
What Types Of Ticks Transmit Lyme Disease
In the northeast, Mid-Atlantic and north-central states, deer ticks or black-legged ticks are the only ticks known to transmit Lyme disease. On the Pacific coast, the ticks that transmit Lyme disease are the western black-legged tick . Dog ticks and other kinds of ticks are not known to cause Lyme disease.
The most visible sign of Lyme disease is the characteristic rash called erythema migrans or ‘bull’s eye.’ This rash usually develops within one month of the tick bite. It typically occurs at the site of the bite, starting as a red area and then expanding in size over days and weeks.
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Ticks That Can Transmit Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is spread through a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is carried by around 50% of adult female ticks and nymphs, and can be spread to a host roughly 36 to 48 hours after the tick has bitten the host and begun to feed.
In the United States, two species of ticks are known to carry Lyme disease:
- Western blacklegged tick
Here in South Carolina , the deer tick, also known as the blacklegged tick — is capable of passing Lyme disease on to a host. On the west coast of the United States, the western blacklegged tick can carry and spread the disease.
If youre suffering from a tick bite, its important to remove the tick as quickly as possible. Heres a blog on how to remove a tick the right way.
How Much Does It Cost To Remove Ticks
Tick yard treatment is based on the size of your yard and the number of times an exterminator has to return to the property for retreatment. According to Angi, in general, you can expect to pay $240 to $450 for a single 3,000 square foot yard treatment. If you need to treat by the acre, it can be far less expensive, at $100 to $300 per acre.
Keep in mind that this is per treatment and if you have a severe tick problem, it could take a half dozen or more treatments to completely eliminate them.
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If I Find An Engorged Tick On My Body Should I Get A Blood Test For Lyme Disease
No. The blood test for Lyme is not useful until two to six weeks after infection develops. It is best to remove the tick and monitor for symptoms. If signs or symptoms of Lyme disease develop see your health care provider to decide whether treatment is necessary. However, the blood tests for Lyme disease are useful and reliable in situations where the symptoms have been present for more than 30 days or it has been over 30 days since the known tick bite.
Hire Tick Pest Control Company
A professional tick spraying company will treat all the areas where ticks live around your property. It is necessary to treat horizontal surfaces like your lawn but, more importantly, vertical surfaces such as ornamentals and high grass areas that act as tick breeding areas. Professional tick pest control companies will treat your property every three to four weeks to maintain tick population reduction.
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Who To Trust To Defend You Against Ct Ticks
Tick control is the first line of defense against Lyme disease. With our help, you can reclaim control over your yard. With over 2 million treatments delivered, Mosquito Squad is excited to help defend your yard against ticks that may be lurking outside.
Ticks in CT are responsible for growing numbers of undiagnosed Lyme disease cases. Defend against ticks with the help of experts found at Mosquito Squad of Hartford. Give us a call at 356-3953.
Use Repellents On Your Skin And Clothing
Deet has long been used as a tick repellent along with Permethrin, however, both can be toxic to humans and pets so you may want to choose from the natural repellents listed below.
2-undecanone, which comes from the leaves and stems of wild tomato plants, bananas, cloves, ginger, guava, strawberries, and the perennial leaf vegetable Houttuynia cordata. 2-undecanone comes in both synthetic and natural forms and can be used on both skin and clothing. Essential Oils from rosemary, lemongrass, cedar, peppermint, clove bud, thyme, neem seed, blue tansy, and geraniol. Essential oils can be used directly on the skin, and it is recommended to try a mixture of different oils to find which work best for you.
After returning from outside, inspect both yourself and your pets for any ticks that may still be looking for a free meal. Remove and wash all clothing followed by a cycle in a hot clothes dryer.
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Early Disseminated Lyme Disease
If left untreated, the infection can spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic vessels within weeks to months where it may affect the joints, nervous system, heart, or other organs. Symptoms of early disseminated Lyme disease include:
- Multiple bull’s eye rashes on various parts of the body.
- Weakness or paralysis in the muscles of the face
- Stiff and painful neck, which may be a sign of Lyme meningitis
- Heart problems symptoms include light-headedness, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, or fainting
Protecting Yourself From Tick Bites
The best way to prevent tick paralysis is to try to avoid tick bites in the first place.
Here are some of the top ways to prevent tick bites in areas where theyre common:
- Cover your arms and legs. You can also tuck your pants into socks
- Put long hair up
- Apply a tick repellant to your clothes
- Use bug spray that contains DEET or lemon-eucalyptus essential oils
If you happen to get bit by a tick, its vital to know how to remove it properly. Then seek out testing for yourself, and the tick itself through services like those offered at IGeneX.
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Where Is Lyme Disease Found
Although Lyme disease is the most commonly-reported tick-borne disease in the United States, it is rare in Washington State. Each year, 10-40 cases of Lyme disease among Washington residents are reported, but most of these people acquire the disease following tick bites that occur in the northeast and upper mid-west states, where Lyme disease occurs more commonly. Only zero to seven confirmed Lyme disease cases per year are reported to be acquired in Washington.
In Washington, the ticks that spread Lyme disease are primarily found in western Washington, but are also present on the eastern slopes of the Cascades.
In North America, most Lyme disease cases occur between May and August.
Which Ticks Carry Lyme Disease
There are hundreds of different kinds of ticks throughout the world. The Ixodes tick, commonly called a black-legged tick, are ticks that carry Lyme disease. In the eastern and mid-western U.S, the primary species is Ixodes scapularis and the related western U.S. version is the Ixodes pacificus .
These ticks that carry Lyme disease can also carry bacterial co-infections, such as Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis. While Lyme disease is the most common infection from a tick, co-infections can complicate ones Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment. Learn more about ticks and the other diseases they can cause in the U.S.
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Can I Get Lyme Disease By Eating Deer Meat
- Deer are important in the deer tick life-cycle, but deer do not get Lyme disease.
- People cannot get Lyme disease by eating deer meat. However, deer meat should always be properly cooked. Cooking deer meat properly is important to prevent other infections such as E. coli.
- Caution should be taken while hunting and dressing deer, since ticks may travel or fall off the deer and have access to you. Ticks also have access to your yard to lay eggs while dressing or hanging a deer. You can take precaution by using a permethrin treated tarp in your truck during transport of a deer and under a deer hanging in your yard.
Repel Ticks With Deet Or Permethrin
- Use repellents that contain 20% or more DEET on the exposed skin for protection that lasts up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes and mouth.
- Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available as well.
- Other repellents registered by the Environmental Protection Agency may also be effective at preventing ticks. An insect repellent search tool: Find the Insect Repellent that is Right for You.
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Why Is Tick Exposure So Dangerous At This Time Of Year
That lack of visibility gives them stealth disease-transmitting powers.
This is when a lot of people get infected, says Northeastern University professor Kim Lewis, director of the universitys Antimicrobial Discovery Center.
People are outdoors, enjoying backyards, parks and hiking trails. But if they cant see the tick that bit them to remove it with a pair of tweezers, they give the tiny ticks more time to feed on them and transmit pathogens with their saliva.
No wonder then that Massachusetts state public health officials say the majority of cases of tick-borne disease, including Lyme disease, occur from June to August.
At this stage of development, deer ticks are known as nymphs. They will hang around until August, when if they are lucky enough to get a blood meal they will turn into adults, says Larry Dapsis, entomologist with the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension.
Adult deer ticks actually are more likely to carry the bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, that causes Lyme disease, Dapsis says. But being more visiblethey are sesame seed-sizedthe adults are more likely to be spotted and pulled off before they can do any damage.
The infection rate for nymphal ticks is 20% compared to the adult stage, which is 50%. But the nymphs are responsible for 85% of all tick-borne diseases, Dapsis says.
The nymphs emerge in mid- to late-May and tend to lurk in the leaf litter, unlike the adults that perch on grasses and shrubs that are knee high.
Other Infections Carried By The Ixodes Tick
Human granulocytic anaplasmosis and babesiosis are also transmitted by the deer tick Ixodes scapularis. Although HGA, babesiosis, and Lyme disease are caused by the same kind of tick, these infections are entirely different diseases.
Deer ticks can also transmit deer tick virus, a disease caused by the Powassan virus. In very rare cases, Powassan virus may cause serious brain infection .
New tick-borne diseases, carried by Ixodes ticks as well as other tick species, continue to emerge.
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What Are The Clinical Signs Of Lyme Disease
Some people with Lyme disease develop a characteristic bull’s-eye rash at the site of the bite within three to thirty days. If this occurs, the disease can be easily diagnosed at an early stage.
However, signs of Lyme disease are more difficult to detect in animals than in people. The characteristic rash does not develop in dogs or cats. In fact, Lyme disease is practically unheard of in cats.
“Affected dogs have been described as if they were walking on eggshells.”
Many dogs affected with Lyme disease are taken to a veterinarian because they seem to be experiencing generalized pain and have stopped eating. Affected dogs have been described as if they were walking on eggshells. Often these pets have high fevers. Dogs may also begin limping. This painful lameness often appears suddenly and may shift from one leg to another. If untreated, it may eventually disappear, only to recur weeks or months later.
Some pets are infected with the Lyme disease organism for over a year before they finally show symptoms. By this time, the disease may be widespread throughout the body. Non-specific signs which may indicate that Lyme disease is affecting the kidneys include vomiting, lethargy, anorexia , and weight loss. The kidney form of the disease is less common, but often fatal.
Later Signs And Symptoms
- Severe headaches and neck stiffness
- Additional EM rashes on other areas of the body
- Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints.
- Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
- Heart palpitations or an irregular heart beat
- Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
- Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
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Feeding And Blood Meals
- Blacklegged ticks feed on blood by inserting their mouth parts into the skin.
- They are slow feeders and will usually feed for 3-5 days.
- In order to spread disease to a human or animal, a tick needs to be infected with a disease agent and it needs to be attached to the host for a certain amount of time.
- If the blacklegged tick is infected, it must be attached for 24-48 hours before it transmits Lyme disease.
- Less common tickborne diseases, such as anaplasmosis, may take less time.
- On average, about 1 in 3 adult blacklegged ticks and 1 in 5 blacklegged tick nymphs is infected with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
Watch this video from National Public Radio on how ticks latch on.
Preventive Antibiotics After A Tick Bite
According to guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America , people bitten by deer ticks should not routinely receive antibiotics to prevent the disease, especially if Lyme disease is not common in that area. In areas where Lyme disease is prevalent, a single dose of an antibiotic is commonly administered after a tick bite.
A single dose of the antibiotic doxycycline may be given if:
- At least 20% of ticks in the geographic area are infected with B. burgdorferi.
- The tick is still attached to the person and is positively identified as a species of Ixodes tick that carries the Lyme disease B. burgdorferi spirochete.
- Doxycycline treatment can be given within 72 hours of the tick bite.
- It is safe for the person to receive doxycycline.
In general, the risk of developing Lyme disease after being bitten by a tick is only 1% to 3%. However, if you have an attached tick or have removed it yourself, be sure to inform your health care provider. Also let your provider know if you develop a bull’s-eye rash or any flu-like symptoms in the first 30 days following a tick bite.
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What To Do If You Do Get Bitten
1. Dont panic. Its a hard rule to follow, Pritt admits, but remember that not every tick carries a harmful bacteria or virus.
2. Forget the folk remedies:Grab a pair of fine tipped tweezers, remove as quickly as possible as close to skin as you can by pulling it out in a smooth, continuous motion without twisting it, Pritt says. And dont light a match or roll it in butter, as in fact, those methods often result in only partial removal.
3. Save it: Put the tick in a plastic bag in the freezer, especially if you think it may have been attached a long time, which may increase the risk of Lyme disease transmission. That way if you decide to see a doctor, theyll be able to identify the type of tick that bit you, and even test it for disease-causing bacteria. Keep in mind, though, that you may not get infected even if the tick tests positive, Dempsey says.
4. Watch for symptoms: A rash, headache, flu-like symptoms and joint pain can all be signs of Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis. A stiff neck and swollen lymph nodes are associated with Lyme disease.
IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS: Many people with Lyme disease dont remember getting a rash or a tick bite. So mention your concerns to your health care provider. Blood tests may be able to detect Lyme disease after your body has developed antibodies.
My Friend Had A Tick Bite And Her Doctor Prescribed A Dose Of Antibiotics To Prevent Lyme Disease When Are Prophylactic Antibiotics Recommended
Limited data is available on the benefit of using prophylactic antibiotics in children following a tick bite. The only antibiotic used for this prophylaxis is doxycycline.
Its use is only recommended if the following five criteria are met:
Ask your provider for more information if you think you or your child may need a prophylactic dose of doxycycline following a tick bite.
It is important to get outside and play, hike, and explore. The possibility of tick bites should not prevent you and your children from enjoying the outdoors. Being diligent about tick prevention and tick checks will go a long way in avoiding tick-borne illnesses.
Remember that even if a tick bite occurs, the risk of Lyme disease remains low. Please do not hesitate to call Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center at 674-7337 or the Ottauquechee Health Center at 457-3030 if you have any questions or concerns. We are here to help.
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