After such a mild winter, ticks are already out in full force. We thought this would be a good time to reprise a previous post.
Ticks in and of themselves don't really create a problem. They don't cause pain, only take a tiny amount of blood, then they leave. Problem is, ticks carry and transmit a fair amount of nasty diseases, like Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. These diseases can be a nightmare to diagnose and treat because they have a dizzying constellation of symptoms, including potential neurological complications, malaise, and fever. Best to avoid being bitten if possible, and do frequent tick checks.
DEET is still the repellent of choice, placed at the cuffs of pants, long sleeved shirts, and even on hats.
If a tick is found attached, the recommendation is removal right away with tweezers placed really close to the person's skin. Continued, even pressure applied straight up is the way to go. Experts do NOT recommend burning them off, or putting any lotions or petroleum jelly on them to loosen them first, as this can make them regurgitate into their host. Don't twist the tick out!. If any jaw parts are left in, these can be removed with a needle or by scraping. Ticks can be saved for identification, and possible testing if needed.
Lyme disease, the biggest risk in the U.S. for "vector-borne" disease, (a disease transmitted to humans through an animal host) is an east coast disease primarily transmitted by very small deer ticks, and actually takes at least 24 hours of the tick being attached to transmit it to a human. Some say it takes 48 hours or more. Unfortunately, it does have a high prevalence due to the fact that the ticks are so small and hard to see, which means they can remain on longer undetected.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever can be transmitted in just an hour or two. Don't be misled by the name, this disease is prevalent on the east coast as well.