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:
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.
Lyme Disease by Age and Sex, Ohio, 2012-2021
How To Avoid Tick Bites:
- Wear long pants and long sleeves.
- Light coloured clothing may make ticks easier to spot.
- Apply insect repellent containing DEET or icaridin and follow the manufacturers instructions.
- Walk closer to the centre of trails avoiding brushy areas that may extend out on the trail edges.
- After spending time outdoors in wooded or bushy areas, shower to remove ticks before they become attached.
- Carefully check your full body and head for attached ticks.
- If you find a tick on your body, remove it as soon as possible.
- Remember to also check your children and pets for ticks.
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Human Cases Of Lyme Disease In Canada
Between 2009 and 2021, provincial public health units have reported 14,616 human cases of Lyme disease across Canada.
Number of human reported Lyme disease cases from 2009 to 2021
Reported Lyme disease cases are from those who got the disease while in Canada or while abroad . The 2016 to 2021 Lyme disease cases are reported based on 2016 the Lyme disease case definition. There’s under-reporting because some cases are undetected or unreported.
All 10 provinces voluntarily provided data over the 13-year period. Territories haven’t reported any cases to the Public Health Agency of Canada since Lyme disease became nationally notifiable in 2009. This is because they haven’t had any Lyme disease cases.
Nationally notifiable diseases are infectious diseases identified by the federal, provincial and territorial governments as priorities for monitoring. Provinces and territories report annual notifiable disease data to the federal government. This helps the Public Health Agency of Canada monitor trends within provinces and across the country.
What’s The Best Way To Prevent A Tick Bite
Ticks can’t fly or jump. But they live in shrubs and bushes and can grab onto you when you pass by. To avoid getting bitten:
- Wear pants and socks in areas with lots of trees and when you touch fallen leaves.
- Wear a tick repellent on your skin and clothing that has DEET, lemon oil, or eucalyptus.
- For even more protection, use the chemical permethrin on clothing and camping gear.
- Shower within 2 hours after coming inside. Look for ticks on your skin, and wash ticks out of your hair.
- Put your clothing and any exposed gear into a hot dryer to kill whatever pests might be on them.
How do you know if you’ve been bitten?
Since ticks are so small, you’ve got to have pretty good eyes to see them.
If you have a small, red bump on your skin that looks like a mosquito bite, it could be a tick bite. If it goes away in a few days, itâs not a problem. Remember, a tick bite doesnât necessarily mean you have Lyme disease.
If you notice a rash in the shape of a bull’s-eye, you might have a tick bite. Talk to your doctor about treatment.
If you have an allergic reaction to ticks, you’ll notice a bite right away.
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Lyme Disease In Qubec
There are a dozen species of ticks in Québec. Since ticks can be transported by birds, they are found in almost all regions of Québec. However, not all ticks carry the bacteria. The only species that can transmit Lyme disease in Québec and northeastern North America is the Ixodes scapularis tick, also called the deer tick or blacklegged tick.
In Québec, according to available surveillance data, Ixodes scapularis ticks are established in the following areas:
- 274 cases in 2020
- and 709 cases in 2021
The fact that Québec winters are less cold than they used to be partly explains the increases before 2020. The warmer climate enables the ticks to survive and grow more easily.
In Québec, it has been mandatory to report Lyme disease infection cases since 2003. Any laboratory staff member or doctor who diagnoses the disease must notify the public health authorities.
Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
People aren’t able to become immune to Lyme disease. So even if you’ve had Lyme disease, you can get it again. No vaccine is available currently to prevent the disease.
The FDA approved a Lyme vaccine called LYMErix in 1998. The vaccine was not 100% effective, however. The FDA still recommended preventing the disease in other ways. In 2002, the company that made LYMErix said it would no longer offer the vaccine.
To help prevent Lyme disease, follow these guidelines.
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Early Signs And Symptoms
What Is A Blacklegged Tick
A blacklegged tick is a tiny bug, about the size of a sesame seed, which feeds on blood. Blacklegged ticks are commonly found in woodlands, tall grasses and bushes. They cannot fly. They move about the ground slowly and settle on tall grasses and bushes until they attach themselves to a person or animal passing by. Ticks are most active in spring and summer.
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What Is Minnesota Doing About Lyme Disease
- The MDH Vectorborne Diseases Unit works with Minnesota residents to limit exposure to the ticks that cause the disease, and they monitor the spread of the disease across the state.
- The MDH Climate & Health Program and Vectorborne Disease Unit work together to educate about the public health issues and prevention strategies related to climate change and tickborne disease.
- The Metropolitan Mosquito Control District identifies and monitors the distribution of blacklegged ticks within the 7-County Metropolitan Area.
- The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources educates the public on minimizing risk to tick bites.
What Are The Complications Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease affects people differently. Relapse and incomplete treatment responses happen. Relapse and incomplete treatment responses happen. Complications of untreated early-stage disease include:
Frequent hospitalizations to manage the disease
Some of these complications result in chronic, debilitating conditions.
Some people may develop post-Lyme disease syndrome . A condition also known as chronic Lyme disease includes PLDS, but also other syndromes. Usually, these are characterized by persistent musculoskeletal and peripheral nerve pain, fatigue, and memory impairment.
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What Do You Do If There’s 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.
Tick Bites Can Be Prevented
Blacklegged ticks are found in wooded, brushy areas. People who are outside in these areas, like outdoor enthusiasts or outdoor workers, are more at risk for being bitten by an infected tick.
To avoid tick bites:
- Avoid wooded, brushy areas from mid-May through mid-July
- Walk in the center of trails to avoid picking up ticks from grass and brush
- Wear long, light-colored clothing to protect you from ticks and make them more visible if they are on you
- Use a tick repellent with up to 30% DEET or permethrin-based repellents for clothing
- Check for ticks, and remove them promptly
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Inspection And Tick Removal
Because recommendations for avoidance are not always practical, particularly for children and during the summer, daily close inspection for ticks should be performed each time one has been outdoors. Parents of children in endemic areas must be vigilant to check for ticksespecially the nymphs, because of their smaller size from the spring to the fall. Checking inside skin folds, behind ears, the umbilicus, groin, axilla, hairline, and scalp must be routine. If one tick is found, search thoroughly for others.
See the image below for a tick removal diagram and instructions.
While these instructions may represent the optimal method for removing the tick, it is more important to remove it promptly than to delay removing it while obtaining forceps or gloves.
A common misperception is that pressing a hot match to the tick or trying to smother it with petroleum jelly, gasoline, nail polish, or other noxious substances is beneficial. This only prolongs exposure time and may cause the tick to eject infectious organisms into the body. Finally, do not squeeze, crush, or puncture the body of the tick because its fluids may contain infectious organisms.
Once the tick is removed, wash the bite area with soap and water or with an antiseptic to destroy any contaminating microorganisms. Additionally, the person who removed the tick should wash his or her hands. The removed tick should be submitted for species identification.
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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Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease can vary from person to person after being bitten by a tick.
Lyme disease occurs in stages. The signs and symptoms of each stage can overlap. In some people, Lyme disease may present in a later stage without a history of prior signs or symptoms.
The most commonly reported sign of Lyme disease is an expanding skin rash that typically begins at the site of the tick bite. This rash is called erythema migrans. It slowly grows to more than 5 cm in diameter over several days, and can sometimes:
- be circular or oval-shaped
- look like a target or bull’s eye
- go unnoticed, especially if it’s on:
- dark skin
- a part of the body that’s difficult to see
Some people may not develop a rash.
Other early signs and symptoms include:
If left untreated, the infection could spread to the joints, heart and nervous system.
Images of erythema migrans rash
Image 1Footnote a: A rash that looks like a bull’s eye at the site of a tick bite.
Image 2Footnote a: An oval-shaped red rash.
Image 3Footnote a: A red rash that has expanded across the width of a limb.
Image 4Footnote a: A red rash and blisters on a forearm.
Image 5Footnote b: A rash on a shoulder.
Image 6Footnote c: A rash on the back of a knee.
- Footnote a
Later symptoms of Lyme disease can appear days to months after an infected tick bite, and may include:
- more rashes
- migratory pain that spreads in the:
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:
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What Are The Roles Of Other Animals In Lyme Disease Transmission
|Deer are not directly involved with Lyme disease transmission. However, they are the preferred host of the adult blacklegged tick and are therefore important in maintaining tick populations.
|Dogs are susceptible to tick bites and tickborne diseases like Lyme disease. Lyme disease infections in dogs are not a significant risk factor for human infection because dogs are considered “dead-end” hosts for the bacteria . However, dogs can bring infected ticks into the home.
|Rodents, especially deer mice and white-footed mice are important hosts for Lyme disease pathogens. Juvenile ticks become infected with Lyme disease bacteria when they feed on infected mice. The ticks may then pass the infection on to future hosts, including humans and pets.
|Ticks, specifically the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, acquire Lyme disease bacteria from rodents.
Where Does Lyme Disease Occur In Ohio
Blacklegged ticks that carry Lyme disease are most commonly found in the eastern and southern areas of the state, but are likely to occur in suitable wooded habitat throughout most or all of Ohio. On the map below, each dot represents one case of Lyme disease and is placed randomly in the patient’s county of residence. The presence of a dot does not necessarily mean that the Lyme disease infection was acquired in Ohio. The place of residence can be different from the place where the patient became infected.
Lyme Disease in Ohio2022* Cases Compared to Incidence 2012-2021
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Borrelia Burgdorferi Infectious Cycle
The infectious cycle of B burgdorferi involves colonization, infection of Ixodes ticks, and then transmission to broad a range of mammalian hosts, including humans. Variation in environmental and host conditions promotes different gene expression and changes in the composition of the membrane proteins of the spirochete. This adaptation is a critical step in the pathogenesis and transmission of Lyme disease.
The Ixodes tick progresses through four stages of development: egg, larva, nymph, and adult . Only larvae, nymphs, and adult female ticks require blood meals, and only ticks in the nymphal and adult stages can transmit B burgdorferi.
The life cycle of Ixodes ticks spans 2 years . The adult lays eggs in the spring, and the larvae emerge in the summer. The larvae feed once, in late summer, on any of a wide variety of small animals . The following spring, the larvae emerge as nymphs. Nymphs feed once, in the spring and summer. The white-footed mouse is the preferred feeding source of nymphs, but other animals apparently suffice. Nymphs molt into adults the following fall and feed once on a larger animal, with the white-tailed deer being the preferred host.
Ticks carry B burgdorferi organisms in their midgut. The bacteria are introduced into the skin by a bite from an infected tick, and disease is transmitted to humans as the spirochete is translocated from the gut to the salivary glands and then to the person at the site of the bite.
What If A Tick Bites My Dog
The more ticks in your region, the likelier it is that your furry pal will bring them home.
Your dog is much more likely to be bitten by a tick than you are. And where Lyme disease is common, up to 25% of dogs have had it at some point.
About 10% of dogs with Lyme disease will get sick. 7-21 days after a tick bite, your dog might seem like theyâre walking on eggshells. They also might have a fever and enlarged lymph nodes. Plus, they might seem tired. Dogs also get antibiotics for Lyme.
What if my dog brings ticks into my home?
Use a tick control product on your pet to prevent Lyme disease. Also, have your dog vaccinated against Lyme.
Check your dogâs whole body each day for bumps. If you notice a swollen area, see if thereâs a tick there. If you find a tick, wear gloves while you use tweezers to separate it from your dog. Then, put it in soapy water or alcohol, or flush it down the toilet.
Use alcohol to clean the spot on your dog where the tick was attached. Keep an eye on that spot, and also on your dog to make sure theyâre behaving normally. If you notice any changes, check with your vet.
John Aucott, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine director, Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center.
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: âVital Signs: Trends in Reported Vectorborne Disease Cases — United States and Territories, 2004-2016.â
American College of Rheumatology.
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