Are Ticks Dangerous to Humans Too?

May 6, 2019

Most people think ticks only attack animals.  After all, they are usually found in dogs, cats, deer, and another mammals. This thinking can be no further from the truth. Humans are actually just as exposed to these parasites as any creatures on earth. Ticks are especially active during the summer. Ticks bite, and their bites not only are very irritating and itchy, but can also transmit diseases.

Overview Of Ticks

Ticks are small joint-legged animals or arachnids. They are about 3 mm to 5 mm in size and have eight legs. They are always on the lookout for a blood meal wherever they can.  From birds to reptiles, to mammals which include humans, they can always have their fill. They are found all over the world, especially in hot climates.

The life cycle of ticks has four stages: from the egg to larva, then onto a nymph, and finally the adult. The larvae, nymph, and adults all need a blood meal. The males adult ticks die after mating, so it is usually the female adult ticks that bite.  Unlike most parasites, fleas do not fly or jump. They just crawl or use their legs to grab onto a host.

There are over 800 tick species worldwide. Of these, only two species transmit the disease to humans: the hard ticks and the soft ticks.

Ticks are pests that you should get rid of.  The best pest control expert in West Columbia, Go-Forth Pest Control, is just within your reach.  

Diseases Brought By Ticks

Lyme Disease - July is the month when Lyme disease cases are aplenty.  This illness can cause symptoms like that of the flu. If not treated, this can cause severe deterioration of a person’s motor and cognitive skills.

Lyme disease has many stages of infection, and the symptoms depend on the stage of infection.  If this disease is left untreated, it can lead to problems in the joints, heart, and the nervous system.

For the first month after being bitten by the tick, the symptoms are fever, headache, muscle, and joint aches, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and rashes.

After the first month, symptoms of the Lyme disease are severe headaches and neck stiffness, arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, facial palsy, intermittent pain in tendons and joints as well as in the bones, heart palpitations, nerve pain, inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, and short-term memory problems.

To diagnose, your healthcare provider may order a laboratory blood test.  If used properly, this could help in detecting the Lyme disease.

Lyme disease may be treated by taking antibiotics. Doxycycline, amoxicillin, and cefuroxime axetil may be recommended. This simple treatment is only for cases that are detected early. For cases detected in its late stages, doctors may recommend different types of treatment and will depend on the person’s age, medical history, allergies, etc.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever - The Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a bacterial disease, fatal if not detected and treated early.

Symptoms for this disease include fever, headache, rash, nausea, muscle pain, lack of appetite, stomach pain, and nausea. If not detected and treated, this could progress to a potentially life-threatening disease.

If you or a loved one has these symptoms, go to your healthcare provider. Inform your healthcare provider that you suspect having bitten by ticks, or that you went outdoors and into places where ticks can be found. This will help the doctor understand your situation and thus make the proper treatments that you will require. Blood testing may be required to check for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Your doctor will probably advise treatment with antibiotics if the illness is only in its early stage.

Tularemia - Tularemia is a disease that is transmitted to humans through tick or flea bites. Ticks get infected by sucking on an infected rodents’ blood Disease is then transferred to humans when they latch on to a human and bites that human. The bite would then allow the transfer of the bacteria. The bacteria that causes tularemia is called Francisella tularensis. The disease was named after Tulare County, California when it first discovered in 1911 in the said place.

The signs and symptoms would depend on how the bacteria entered the body.  In an ulceroglandular tularemia, high fever, skin ulcer at the site of where the bacteria entered the body, and swelling of regional lymph glands are present. Glandular tularemia has the same signs and symptoms as with ulceroglandular tularemia.

The third form of tularemia, the pneumonic tularemia, is the deadliest of all. Signs of this form of tularemia are difficulty in breathing, chest pains, and cough.  This occurs when an ulceroglandular tularemia is left untreated The bacteria would then spread to the lungs through the bloodstream.

Immediately seek medical attention once you have these symptoms. For treatment, antibiotics like streptomycin, gentamicin, doxycycline, and ciprofloxacin are used. Treatment may last 10 to 21 days. Medication for fever and pain might also be given.

Surgery may be done to drain swollen lymph nodes or remove infected tissues. Statistically, tularemia can be deadly about 2 % of the time.

Colorado Tick Fever - This is caused by the Colorado Tick Fever virus. Signs and symptoms for this disease include fever, headaches, chills, and lethargy. In some cases, there are sore throat, abdominal pains, stiff neck, or rash. After a bite, symptoms will appear from as early as 1 day to two weeks. Presently, there are no treatments aside from supportive care. This may include medications for pain, hospitalization, and IV injection.

Anaplasmosis - Transmitted either by tick bites or blood transfusion. Here in the United States, it is carried black-legged tick. Signs and symptoms typically start 1 to 2 weeks after being bitten. Early signs of this illness include fever, severe headache, chills, muscle aches, nausea, and loss of appetite. If not treated early, it can result in more severe illness. Late stage symptoms are bleeding problems, respiratory failure, organ failure, and even death. Treatment is through antibiotics.

Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever - The main symptoms for this disease is high fever, headache, muscle pain, and joint pain. Treatment is through administering antibiotics to the patient.

Babesiosis - Many people with these diseases actually do not feel any symptoms. Some do, and these symptoms include fever, chills, sweating, headache and body aches, loss of appetite, and nausea. It can be life-threatening to some people. Immediately consult with a healthcare provider once you get these symptoms, as this is treatable.

In order to prevent getting these diseases, avoiding ticks should be of paramount importance.

Ticks live in wooded, grassy, brushy areas or even on animals.

1. It is natural to want to go outdoors during the summer. Before doing so, treat your clothing and gears with products containing 0.5% Permethrin. You do not have to do this every time you go out. Permethrin lasts a long time, even after a few items of washing, so you will be protected for several days with the same clothing, boots, and camping gear.  

2. Use the Environmental Protection Agency - registered insect repellents. Look for one that contains the ingredients DEET, picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol for a higher level of protection. Always follow directions when using these.

3. Before going out, know where the ticks are. They can be found in grassy areas, wooded areas, and brushy areas.

4. When you get home after an outdoor activity, immediately check for ticks on your clothing and on your body. You may not know it, but you might be carrying the ticks already. Remove any ticks found on your clothing and wash clothes immediately by tumble drying on a dryer on high heat for ten minutes. This will kill the ticks.

5. Take a bath as soon as you get home. Check your whole body for ticks using a mirror.  If you find ticks on your skin, remove using a tweezer. Check under your arms, belly button, in and around your ears, at the back of the knees, between the legs, and around your waist.

6. If you spot a tick, use tweezers to remove it. Grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible. Do not crush the tick with your fingertips. Dispose of it by putting it in a plastic bag, trash bag, or even flush it down the toilet. 

Go-Forth Pest Control

Disease-carrying pests should be immediately destroyed, especially if your home is being infested by them,  If your home is already attacked by ticks, call on the best pest control expert in West Columbia, South Carolina, Go-Forth Pest Control.

Go-Forth Pest Control has a team of highly skilled and well-trained technicians who use state of the art equipment in exterminating pests. They have excellent experience in exterminating pests, like ticks, fleas, roaches, mice, mosquitoes, moths, flies, weevils, silverfish, spiders, and wasps. You also need not worry about your safety, since Go-Forth only uses family friendly and pet-friendly methods of killing pests.

For more inquiries or to set for an appointment, just call 336-841-6111.  Our friendly operators are standing by.

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