With all the buzz about mosquitoes, people often forget about protecting themselves from ticks. Ticks carry a wide range of diseases and it is important to keep you and your family safe from tick-borne illnesses. Due to a mild winter nationwide, experts predict that this fall will be one of the worst tick seasons in years.
This fall, be on the look out for the most common tick-borne diseases in Virginia and other areas of the US:
This is the most common disease that is transmitted by ticks. The blacklegged tick, which is found in the Northeast, North Central states and the West Coast, are carriers of Lyme disease. Symptoms can include the infamous bulls-eye rash, joint pain, headache, and fever.
Powassan Virus (POW)
It is a rare, but dangerous disease, that is starting to spread throughout the U.S. The POW virus can infect the central nervous system which can cause encephalitis and meningitis. Symptoms can include headache, fever, partial paralysis, and nausea. About half of all cases end with permanent damage and about ten percent of all cases are fatal.
Similar to Lyme Disease, the POW virus is also transmitted by the blacklegged tick and there have been about 75 case of the POW virus reported in the United States in the last 10 years.
Tick-borne Relapsing Fever
This disease is transmitted through soft ticks and involves relapsing episodes of nausea, fever, and headaches. Tick-borne Relapsing Fever can be found in many mountainous areas of North America, Mexico, and Central America.
It can be transmitted from the dog tick, the lone star tick, and the wood tick. Tularemia is found in multiple states of the United States. Symptoms include fever, chills, fatigue, headache, and swollen lymph glands.
Colorado Tick Fever
This particular disease is transmitted by the Rocky Mountain wood tick. It can only be found at elevations from 4,000 to 10,500 feet. Symptoms of this disease include fever, chills, and headaches.
Luckily, our experts at Getem Services put together a few steps you can take to prevent you and your family from contracting any of these tick-borne illnesses. Here's a few tips:
- Make sure to cover up. Cover up with long sleeves and pants if you are spending time in heavily wooded areas while hiking or mountain biking. Or, simply avoid these areas altogether. If you have children, try using clothes with Permethrin, which is safe for children four months or older.
- Do a full-body check. After spending a long time outdoors, check yourself and children for ticks. Ticks like to hide in damp, warm places - so pay special attention to areas where straps and waistbands lay against the body and any other sweaty areas.
- Visit your physician. When you see a tick, remove carefully with tweezers. Grab the tick close to the head and pull gently and slowly to remove it. After carefully extracting the tick, place it in a container to take to your physician. Your doctor will be able to send it out for testing and prescribe you treatment if necessary.