Sickness spread by insects is a real threat. Disease cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control from infected mosquitoes, ticks and fleas in the U.S. have tripled over the last 13 years, thanks in large part to the Zika virus. Tick-borne illnesses alone doubled between 2004 and 2016. Learn the risks that ticks pose and how you can stay protected.
Some Diseases Ticks Carry: Most cases can be treated successfully with antibiotics if diagnosed early enough.
- Lyme: Accounting for the majority of tick-borne diseases, typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and the infamous “bulls-eye rash.”
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: Symptoms usually include headache, fever, and spotted rash.
- Rickettsioses: Another type of spotted fever is distinguished by a dark scab on the bite along with the headache, fever, and rash.
- Professional Treatment: The CDC recommends hiring a professional company to apply treatments around your home that help reduce tick exposure. Our Flea and Tick Control insecticide treatments are a part of our outdoor pest control program and are applied monthly from April to October.
- Stay on Paths: Whenever possible, avoid grassy or wooded areas and stay on walkways or paved areas.
- Wear Protective Clothing: If you have to be in the wilderness, wear long sleeves and try to minimize potential entry points in your clothes. In particular, you should definitely tuck the ends of your pant legs into your socks. Remove clothes and shower immediately once inside. Place clothes in the dryer for at least 10 minutes as a precautionary measure to kill any lurking ticks.
- Use repellents: Look for at least 20% DEET for effective protection, and use the EPA online tool to find the best repellant for you.
- Keep Grass Cut: Mow your grass routinely, keeping it below three inches. Trim trees and shrubs and remove dead plants to eliminate places for ticks to hide.
- Protect Your Pets: Invest in flea and tick colors for your animals.
What to Do if Bitten:
- Find Them Quickly: Finding a tick on you can be alarming, but there’s little need to panic if you discover it right away. Get into the habit of routine body checks for yourself, your kids, and your pets. Check around ears, under arms, inside belly buttons, behind knees, around waists, and in hair. Also check any outdoor gear or clothing you bring inside.
- Remove Them Correctly: Grasp the tick with tweezers firmly and as close to the skin as possible. Then slowly pull it upward. Follow up with antiseptic and wash the tweezers in alcohol. Regardless of what you’ve seen on social media, do NOT remove a tick with peppermint oil. This can cause the tick to regurgitate and increase your chance of getting a disease.
- Label and Save: While it’s tempting to simply flush a tick down the toilet, it’s wiser to put a live tick in alcohol to kill it. Place it in a sealed bag labeled with the date in case you develop symptoms later. Then place the bag in the freezer.
In today’s world, there are plenty of threats to worry about that are beyond our control. Ticks don’t have to be one of them. Take these measures to keep your family free of ticks and give yourself peace of mind.