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July 15, 2020  |  Tips & Guides  |  Insect Repellents

Old Farmer’s Almanac: Tick Bite Treatment and Removal

University of South Florida

TICK BITE TREATMENT AND REMOVAL

Tick bites can be dangerous due to the diseases that ticks carry. Here are tips for tick bite prevention and treatment.

If you spend time outside or have pets that go outdoors, it’s important to be aware of tick bites—their symptoms, prevention, and treatment. Some ticks transmit Lyme Disease, so we’ll also help you understand types of ticks and disease symptoms.

Ticks are small bloodsucking parasites. Ticks not only carry the dangerous Lyme disease, but also Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Colorado tick fever, or a number of other diseases. In fact, ticks are the leading carriers of diseases to humans in the U.S., and second only to mosquitoes worldwide. Similarly to mosquitoes, toxins in the tick’s saliva cause the disease.

As many as 300,000 people may be diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease each year through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. It is a regional affliction with 95% of the cases occurring in 14 states in the Upper Midwest, New England, and the Mid-Atlantic, but the only state that has had no reports of Lyme disease is Hawaii. Lyme disease is most common in children 5 to 15 years old and adults 40 to 60 years of age, and risk of infection is greatest from May to August.

 

WHAT IS LYME DISEASE?

An infected tick transmits the spiral-shaped bacterium called a spirochete to us through a tick bite. Because of the spirochete’s shape, it is able to corkscrew its way from the bloodstream into soft tissue, tendons, joints, and bones. There is some controversy about how long the tick needs to be embedded to transmit the disease. The CDC says 24 hours, but some doctors claim only four hours or less will do it.

 

LYME DISEASE SYMPTOMS

Lyme disease is hard to diagnose because so many of its symptoms—such as fever, chills, sore joints, headaches, and exhaustion—mimic other diseases. Tick bites are also generally painless and may go completely unnoticed.

If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.

 

Continue reading the article from Old Farmer’s Almanac here: https://www.almanac.com/news/gardening/garden-journal/tick-bites-lyme-disease-prevention-symptoms-and-tick-removal

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