During the summer, many outdoor pests can become a major concern for humans. Mosquitoes got a ton of attention in the news last summer due to their carrying of the Zika virus and the harm the virus can cause to unborn infants. This summer, the tick has taken the headlines due to its spread of the Powassan virus. In addition to Powassan, ticks also carry and spread many more diseases, one of the most well-known of these tick-borne infections being Lyme disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the U.S.
There are about 200 species of ticks in the United States alone. Ticks live in tall grass or shrubs, and while they do not jump or fly, they may drop from their perch and fall onto a host. Experts are expecting a tick boom in the U.S. as a result of the recent mild winter and surge in mice and deer populations. With this increase of ticks simply means a great risk for humans to encounter tick-borne diseases.
Lyme disease rates have steadily increased since the 1990s, and thousands of cases may still go unreported. Lyme disease is a bacterial illness that can affect the skin, joints, heart, and nervous system. This disease is a worldwide infectious disease and has been reported in all 50 states. It occurs in phases, with the early phase beginning at the site of the tick bite where an expanding ring of redness will appear. It can be treated with antibiotics. Signs of Lyme disease include:
- Expanding reddish rash and skin inflammation
- Flu-like symptoms
- disseminated disease with heart and nervous system involvement
- Motor and sensory nerve damage and brain inflammation, as well as arthritis
If you find yourself with a tick bite, follow these instructions to remove and treat the bite. To protect yourself while spending time outdoors this summer, apply insect repellent with at least 20% DEET and wear light-colored clothing and closed-toe shoes. Always perform a thorough check of clothing, skin, and your hair when returning indoors. Don’t forget about your furry friends, too! Also, consider talking to a veterinarian about preventative treatments for your pets. As always, call 877-DEAD-BUG to protect your property and your family with our professional help!
For additional information on Lyme disease please visit the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) website.