Monday, May 10, 2021

Myths About Ticks


The first signs of spring - warm weather and blooms - are often greeted with joy. But soon comes the realization that with warm weather come ticks. Here are some of the most common myths about ticks that need to be debunked:

Myth: Ticks are only seasonally active in forests

Many people think that ticks can only survive in forests from spring to fall, but this is no longer true. Ticks are even being found in people’s backyards due to the annual reproduction of nearby populations. Unfortunately, some of these ticks have also tested positive for Lyme Disease.

Myth: Ticks can jump

Many people described having ticks jumping on them from trees, but ticks can’t jump.  Instead, they patiently sit on low vegetation or crawl around the ground, sensing a host’s heat or carbon dioxide.  Ticks search for their next meal when temperatures are above 4 degrees celsius. During the winter, people think that ticks are inactive or dead because of the cold. However, if temperatures rise above freezing for several days, ticks can emerge from dormancy.

Myth: All Ticks are infected with Lyme disease

People often panic thinking they will immediately get infected with Lyme disease if they’re bitten by a tick.  However, some ticks may not be infected at all, while others can carry a variety of less prevalent diseases.  Blacklegged ticks can also transmit babesiosis, a parasite that infects red blood cells and Powassan virus which can cause an infection of the brain. 

Dog ticks are well-known carriers of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia, a rare infectious disease — also known as rabbit fever or deer fly fever.  

If a tick is infected, the time it takes for a disease to be transmitted varies. Usually, Lyme disease could happen in less than sixteen hours, the Powassan virus is transmitted in less than 15 minutes.

Tick Removal Myths

Ticks have developed a critical tool to discreetly attach to their host: saliva.  We don’t react to their bites because ticks make sure we don’t know they’re there.  Their saliva contains multiple components that trick our bodies into blocking pain and itching, as well as stopping any defensive immune responses.  When a tick is attached, it should be removed quickly. 

How to properly remove an attached tick: First, locate the head of the tick close to the skin with fine-tipped tweezers. Then, pull the tick straight upward with even force.  Fine-tipped tweezers are the only efficient and safe way to remove a tick!  Use the tweezers to grab the head close to the skin and lift straight upwards with steady even pressure. Parts of the tick’s head or mouth may remain, but they are unable to transmit any disease without the body.

Prepare for trips into nature: Wear a hat, long sleeves, and pants, and avoid open shoes. Take off and check your clothes carefully after returning home.



No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.