The season is thick with ticks
As the tick population steadily rises, so does the opportunity to become bitten by one of these creepy crawlers. It’s important to take precautions to avoid the diseases a tick can carry while outdoors enjoying nature more frequently during warm weather months. Lyme disease is especially one to be aware of and is the most prevalent vector-borne illness in the United States.
The American dog tick, or hard tick, is the most common type of tick in central Illinois. A bite from this little arachnid (that’s right, ticks fall into the same category as spiders!) can lead to Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia and possibly ehrlichiosis in humans. The deer tick, or blacklegged tick, can carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Additionally, there’s been a significant increase in lone star ticks recently. These ticks can cause hives, stomach cramps, difficulty breathing, fainting and even death. They could also really wreck your barbecue—lone star ticks can cause a severe allergy to meat.
Many ticks are most active from April through June. “When it comes to tickborne diseases, we are very fortunate to be living in the era of awareness,” says Dr. Vidhya Prakash, CMO and an infectious diseases specialist at SIU School of Medicine. “While almost all of these infections are treatable with appropriate therapy, prevention is key to combatting disease.”
As you head outdoors this summer, SIU physicians recommend taking these preventative measures:
- Wear long pants and long sleeves to prevent ticks from attaching to your skin.
- Wear light-colored clothing so you can easily spot a tick on yourself.
- Avoid high grass, wooded or brushy areas.
- Walk in the center of trails.
- Use insect repellent containing 20-30% DEET or other EPA-approved active ingredients on exposed skin and clothing.
- Apply products that contain permethrin to clothing. The CDC recommends treating all clothing and gear, including boots, pants, socks and tents, with products containing 0. 5% permethrin. One treatment will continue to protect even after several washings.
While taking these precautions is a good start, experts also recommend doing a thorough check after coming indoors.
- Scrub up in the shower or bathtub, preferably within two hours of being outside.
- Perform a full-body tick check on yourself using a handheld or full-length mirror. Parents should also check their children.
- Check areas like the scalp, neck, armpits, groin, between the legs, behind the knees, in and around the ears, inside the belly button and around the waist.
- Check out your gear and pets. While you may not find any ticks during your full-body check, the little pests could hitch a ride on your gear or canine companion and attach to you later.
- Throw your clothes in the dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks.
What should you do if you find a tick on your clothes, or worse, on your skin?
- You can remove ticks found crawling on your clothes with tape. Just make a ring of tape around your hand (sticky side out, attach the ends) and the critters will stick to the tape. You can then fold over the tape and place it in the trash.
- Remove any tick found on your body ASAP!
- Grasp the tick firmly with tweezers and pull it (gently, but firmly) straight out.
- If you don’t have tweezers, use a piece of tissue. Never use your bare hands since the secretions from the tick can cause disease.
- Dispose of the tick by flushing it down the toilet. You can also stick it to tape and throw the tape away in the garbage.
- Wash your hands and the bite site with soap and water.
- Ticks attached to your skin for at least 24-48 hours are more likely to transmit diseases. Be mindful of your health and call your physician if you experience symptoms like a rash or unexplained fever.
What Is Your State’s Flea-and-Tick Season? – American Kennel Club
Although fleas and ticks are a threat to pets year-round, these pests become most active during the warmer months, starting as early as March in some areas of the United States. Find your state on the map shown here to learn where and when your pets are most at risk for fleas and ticks. Prevention is always the best strategy during flea and tick season.
Fleas & Ticks: More Than Just a Nuisance
The Merck Veterinary Manual says, “Ticks are blood-sucking parasites that attach themselves to animals and people. Once attached to a host, ticks feed voraciously. As they feed, ticks can transmit a large number of diseases.” Tick-borne diseases include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and ehrlichiosis (a bacterial infection). Ticks on dogs also cause skin wounds that may lead to bacterial infections and can also cause anemia.
There are more than 200 species fleas of that can affect dogs, and these can also transmit disease and cause tapeworm infections and anemia. Some dogs are very sensitive to fleabites and suffer from serious allergic reactions of itchy, red, and scabby skin and even hair loss.
Many people believe that their dogs are safe from fleas and ticks after the first frost, but unfortunately, this is not at all true. Some species of ticks, including the ones that cause Lyme disease, can remain active in the fall and winter months, too.
Fleas Are Wingless Acrobats
Most of the fleas found on dogs and cats are Ctenocephalides felis, also known as cat fleas. Fleas require blood from an animal host to be able to live and reproduce. They don’t have wings, so they can’t fly. However, they are serious jumpers with the ability to jump distances 100 to 200 times their size.
Fleas have four developmental stages: egg, larvae, pupa, and adult. When it’s cold or there’s no host on the horizon, flea pupae (the stage before adult fleas emerge) have the ability to stay in their tiny cocoons, nestled in your couch or rug, until the weather gets warm or they find a host.
A solitary adult female (and many people say there’s no such thing as one flea) starts laying eggs the day after its first ingestion of blood, producing up to 50 eggs per day and about 2,000 in its lifetime. So it doesn’t take long to have an infestation on your dog and in your house—leading to a costly and time-consuming extermination process.
Ticks Hide in Your Yard
Ticks, unlike fleas, don’t need to live on their host. They live in grassy and wooded areas and prefer a humid environment. Then when your dog walks by, they attach themselves to the dog. The Centers for Disease Control recommends clearing tall grass and brush from your yard to make it less attractive to ticks.
The geographic distribution of ticks is broadening as a result of climate change, deforestation, and the changing migration patterns of deer, birds, and rodents. Ticks are in virtually all parts of the United States, including some urban areas, and many parts of the world.
Some types of ticks can remain alive in the colder months, especially when temperatures are above freezing. For example, the Blacklegged tick, which carries Lyme disease, begins its period of prime feeding near the time of the first frost. Since deer are the main host of the Blacklegged tick and are active in the fall and early winter months, this type of tick survives on the warm body of its host—until it drops off and attaches itself to your dog.
Seasonal Temperatures and Flea & Tick Season
When temperatures rise, flea eggs are safe to hatch outside, and ticks can thrive in woods and tall grasses. This is also the time of year that you and your dog are more likely to spend hiking and walking and enjoying nature. However, it doesn’t take warm temperatures to put your dog at the mercy of these pests.
The best defense against fleas and ticks is to keep your dog on a year-round flea and tick preventive medication, as recommended by your veterinarian. “Be sure to ask your veterinarian for advice about the safest treatment for your dog and your home,” advises Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer for the AKC.
“Depending on where you live, the age and breed of your dog, the protocol may vary. For example, young puppies or older dogs with weaker immune systems may require special doses or treatments, or if you live in a tropical area, the environmental applications required may be more frequent.”
Ticks are back: season 2023 | news and events CITILAB
Published: 03/15/2023 Updated: 04/03/2023
It is getting warmer every day, and ticks have already awakened in some regions of Russia. They wake up at a temperature of +1 … +3 and become active at +10. The greatest activity of ticks is traditionally observed from April to October, but this spring the period of their seasonal activity began already in March, a month earlier than the calendar norm. Experts attribute this to an unusually warm February and early snowmelt.
Ticks live not only in parks, they feel great in the city – wherever there is thick grass, shrubs or other vegetation. Ticks can be quietly brought into the house on clothes or with pets.
Ticks carry 5 infections that are widespread in Russia: tick-borne encephalitis, borreliosis (Lyme disease), anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis and babesiosis. The best protection against tick-borne encephalitis is vaccination. It consists of three injections, which are given according to a certain scheme with an interval. If you give the first dose now, you can have time to protect yourself by the peak of tick activity.
What to do if you can’t avoid being bitten? First, don’t panic. Not every tick is contagious. However, a tick bite is not a situation where you can rely on luck.
Algorithm of actions after a bite:
1. Carefully remove the tick yourself or contact any SITILAB medical center and entrust it to professionals. It is important not to damage the tick and remove it entirely – this will reduce the risk of infection and increase the accuracy of further research. Check the parasite for tick infections:
- Tick-borne infections (DNA/RNA) – 4 pathogens (tick) (code: 97-58-015)
2. See a doctor for emergency tick-borne infection prevention. This is especially true for residents of regions endemic for tick-borne encephalitis.
3. After 10-14 days, donate blood for tick infections (code 97-10-015). It is imperative to donate blood if you feel worse or you could not deliver the tick to the laboratory:
- Tick-borne pathogens (DNA/RNA) – 4 pathogens (blood) (code: 97-10-015)
Tick-borne infections are dangerous not only for people, but also for pets. One of the most formidable pathogens for pets is babesiosis. CITILAB conducts exclusive studies, including the detection of babesiosis:
97-58-022 – Detection of DNA of Babesia species, the causative agent of infectious babesiosis (piroplasmosis) in a tick.
99-58-001 – PROFILE Tick-borne pathogens (DNA/RNA): Babesia spp., Borrelia spp., Ehrelichia spp., A.phagocytophillum, tick-borne encephalitis virus in tick.
For more information on how to protect yourself from tick-borne infections, please visit: https://citilab.ru/articles/klesch/
Ticks are most dangerous right now, in early spring, when they wake up after hibernation. Be vigilant, take precautions and seek medical attention immediately if you could not avoid an encounter with an arthropod.
Tick season: a reminder for caring parents
How does the tick work?
The highest tick activity occurs in May-September. It was at this time that the cases of cuttings by these insects increase. There is an opinion that ticks are inhabitants of trees. But it’s not. They crawl on the ground, grass, fallen leaves, branches. Identification of the victim occurs even without the organs of vision. With the help of a heightened sense of smell, the tick determines that a person is nearby. At this moment, the insect jumps onto the clothes, gradually making its way to the bare area of the body.
Can you feel a tick bite?
At the time of the bite, the tick releases a special analgesic that blocks pain in the victim. It is for this reason that it is impossible to immediately determine that an insect has penetrated deep into the skin. You can only feel the moment when the tick crawls over the body in search of a tasty site for a bite. Explain to the children that it is necessary to immediately notify the parents if they feel a suspicious tickling on the skin. You still have time to shake off the bug that didn’t bite your baby.
Tick bite danger
Many underestimate the seriousness of tick bites. It is these insects that are considered carriers of very dangerous diseases, many of which are fatal. The most common infection is encephalitis, which affects the central nervous system. Within a few minutes after the bite, paralysis of the legs, arms, high fever, nausea, and photophobia appear. Untimely response to the situation in 20% of cases leads to the death of the victim. Therefore, try to refrain from places with a high content of encephalitis mites. Their largest accumulation is observed in the Far East, Siberia, the Urals, the Urals, in the Kaliningrad and Leningrad regions. Recently, these dangerous insects have been found even in the forests of the Moscow region.
What does a tick bite look like?
It is quite difficult to notice a tick on the body. He chooses such inconspicuous places that sometimes an insect is found after a few days. Therefore, after a forest walk, carefully examine every centimeter of your baby’s body. This method will allow you to determine the bite in a timely manner and take appropriate measures. If the tick has penetrated deep under the skin, then outwardly it will resemble a mole. With a shallow penetration, a part of the insect will remain visible on the surface of the skin. It is believed that a tick drinks 10 times its own weight in blood in one bite. The insect gradually increases in size from 4 mm to 2 cm.
First aid for tick bites
Every minute counts in this business. Therefore, all parents need to know how to help their child at the time of a tick bite. In this case, parents should always have a first-aid kit on hand.
To properly remove a tick, follow these instructions:
- Moisten the bite site with a substance with a strong unpleasant odor. In this case, nail polish remover or ammonia will come in handy.
- Do not use oil or other oily liquid.
- Try to grab part of the tick with the tweezers and turn it counterclockwise.