As much as I love spring and summer, I have to say dealing with ticks is not high on my list of favorite things. Here in central Virginia we see heavy tick infestations starting in early spring, beginning to wane in June or July and then picking back up in the fall. However, ticks do not go away entirely no matter what season it is, so you always want to exercise caution anytime you are in an area that is an ideal home for ticks.
Learn more: Previously I wrote a post about Preparing for Tick Season.
What are ticks exactly?
Ticks are external parasites that are a part of the mite family. Ticks require a blood meal to develop and produce eggs. They feed only on blood to survive, nothing else. Because of this need for a blood meal, ticks seek out a warm blooded host (for the most part) to feed from.
Where are ticks found?
Ticks can be found throughout the United States and several other countries. However, not all ticks carry the risk of disease. Within the United States, the mostly heavily concentrated areas for Lyme disease carrying ticks is located in the northeast and upper mid-west. To see statics for your state check out the state-by-state information provided by the CDC.
Does every tick carry Lyme Disease?
Not necessarily. Just because you see a tick, does not mean it is a carrier of Lyme’s Disease. However, it’s always important to exercise caution and continue taking measures to reduce your risk of contracting Lyme’s Disease. You can find out which ticks carry the biggest risk for disease to humans and animals in this article about preparing for tick season.
Learn more about staying healthy in the summer with essential oils.
What is Lyme Disease and how is it contracted?
Lyme Disease, also know as borreliosis, is a bacterial infection transmitted by infected ticks. It’s symptoms are marked by fatigue, flu-like symptoms and a bull’s-eye patterned rash. Left un-treated, infection can spread to the joints, the heart and the nervous system. However, keep in mind that a tick with Lyme’s usually must be attached 36-48 hours before it will transmit the disease to its host.
That is why it is important that if you are in an area with ticks, such as wooded or grassy areas, that you check to make sure a tick has not hitched a ride.
If you find a tick, don’t freak out. If the tick has already attached to the skin or scalp, take a pair of pointed tip tweezers and gently grasp the tick as close to the skin as you can. Gently pull the tick from the area it is attached too. The key here is to get ALL of the tick if you can.
Once you have removed the tick, cleanse the area with rubbing alcohol. Then keep an eye on the area. The area may be a bit red when you remove the tick, but the redness should fade. If it does not, and appears to get worse, see your doctor for additional care.
My friend uses TheraNeem Outdoor Herbal Spray Organix South every summer for her family. She recommends that you “reapply it every couple of hours but a little goes a long way. Spray a little on areas of open skin, especially around the ankles and feet, and then rub it in. You can also spray it into your hands and smooth it into your children’s hair.”
How is Lyme Disease diagnosed and treated?
Lyme Disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (rash, etc) and your possible exposure to a tick infested area. Most cases of Lyme Disease, if caught early, can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics.
Learn more about “Best Practices To Avoid Ticks” this season.
Don’t let worry keep you indoors. Keep living! With the proper information and a healthy dose of precaution, you and your animals can still enjoy the beautiful days of spring, summer and fall. Let’s not allow a few critters that crawl keep us from going about life and living it to the fullest.
Do you live in an area with a lot of ticks? What best practices have you found to be helpful in your area?