As if Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever were not enough, now there are new diseases that have been discovered to be spread by ticks. The bacteria Borrelia miyamotoi is behind one of the newly discovered tick-borne diseases, and it is so new that no official name has been given to the disease yet. Here is information to help keep you safe from contracting illnesses spread by ticks.
You do not have to panic if you see a tick crawling on you. This means it has not attached to you and taken a blood meal yet. Ticks that have fed are bloated and often have a grayish appearance. This is how a tick is often discovered attached to you or a pet as they are very tiny and easy to miss when not bloated with blood. If it is small, not bloated and crawling on you, it has not fed. After a meal they fall off. However, if you have seen a crawling tick, you should check for more. You should also wash the clothing you are wearing and thoroughly check your footwear.
If You Have Been Bitten by a Tick
If you discover a tick that is attached and feeding on you or your pet, you should remove it carefully and immediately. Ignore all of the tales of tick removal such as burning it with a lit cigarette. You do not want to cause regurgitation of fluids back into your body that would increase the risk of contamination from an infected tick. Instead, use a tick spoon, available at pharmacies and online merchants, to remove a feeding tick. You should contact a doctor for yourself or a veterinarian for your pet after being bitten to receive further instructions. Keep the removed tick in a sealed bottle if testing is needed, and keep in mind that not every tick is carrying a pathogen that can make you sick.
Reducing Exposure Risk
You probably already know to wear your pants tucked into socks when outdoors in areas where ticks like to lie in wait for a meal. You also likely know to wear repellents when in areas where ticks are more likely to be encountered. However, most people forget that their own back yards can be places where ticks can thrive. Rabbits, field mice, birds and other mammals carry the ticks into your manicured outdoor spaces, making tick control something that should be on your priority list. New methods of controlling tick populations take advantage of the nesting habits of mice to stop ticks before they reach the adult stage.
The best way to prevent tick bites from spreading disease is to prevent getting bit in the first place, which requires effective control of ticks to reduce tick populations in the outdoor areas you like to enjoy. Take advantage of the latest methods in tick control to protect your family and pets from tick-borne diseases.