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Ticks and their Diseases

One parasite that has earned a particularly formidable reputation is the deer tick, and this is mostly due to its ability to transmit Lyme disease. These pests live in four stages – egg, larva, nymph, and adult – and can transmit serious diseases such as Lyme to humans as early as in their nymph stage. As a nymph, a tick can be about as tiny as a poppy seed and therefore very difficult to detect on one’s body – especially on a hairy head.

Adult female ticks will feed shortly after mating and can double in size due to their blood intake. Afterwards, they will detach from their host animal or human and lay their eggs before dying. The eggs are usually laid in leaves, and in general, ticks prefer to linger under leaves or similar plant material where temperatures are cooler. Therefore, it is important to be especially careful when reaching or stepping into a pile of leaves, and if you do reach into fallen leaves, thoroughly check your skin for ticks immediately afterwards. Likewise, do not allow your children to jump or play in piles of leaves! It is much better to be safe than sorry concerning situations where there is a risk of your child contracting Lyme disease. Also note that ticks often climb blades of grass and other plants in anticipation of attaching themselves to their next human or animal victim as he or she passes by.

If you find a tick attached to yourself or to a relative, remove it as soon as possible with tweezers. It can take less than half a day of attachment to a host for a tick to transmit Lyme disease. Use the tweezers to grab hold of the tick as close as possible to your or the victim’s skin, and pull the creature out in a straight motion without twisting the tweezers or squeezing them firmly. One should be careful not to break the tick so as not to leave part of its body in the skin. Rather, the entire tick should be removed in the motion.

Lyme disease is a serious condition that requires managing with treatment. It is unclear whether Lyme disease is curable, but a diagnosed patient must continue monitoring and controlling the condition until symptoms are eliminated. That being said, Lyme disease has often proven very difficult to diagnose, and some experts have concluded that ultimately only one out of every ten cases gets reported. This is due to the fact that the disease often very closely mimics the flu. In addition, symptoms often very greatly from case to case, with some patients suffering with what seems like Alzheimer’s, while others show signs likened to muscular dystrophy. Still other patients display symptoms that resemble many other diseases. In some patients who have become symptom-free with prolonged treatment, relapses have occurred, requiring resumed treatment. The deer tick has also been linked to a number of other diseases, including Barton Ella, Babesia, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Another type of tick to try to avoid in the eastern United States is the American dog tick. Although not a carrying agent for Lyme disease, this pest has been linked to a number of other diseases, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia. Dog ticks have a hard shell with a pattern of brown shapes along their backs. If you or a loved one finds a dog tick or a deer tick attached to the body, it is recommended that you keep the culprit in a container with alcohol after removal so as to preserve it. This is in order so that the guilty tick can be tested for carrying certain diseases should the bite victim become symptomatic within about a month, thereby making diagnosis easier.

Brody Brothers Quality Pest Control has decades of experience in properly treating and controlling tick populations using safe, environmentally friendly, and effective procedures via a team of well-trained and knowledgeable technicians. We make child and pet safety our number one priority. Call today, and let us help you reduce the risk of being affected by ticks for you and your family.