Imagine a tiny insect crawling on you and latching on to you while burying its head into your skin for the purpose of feeding on your blood. Now imagine that bug carrying an autoimmune disease that can be misdiagnosed as a myriad of different illnesses. That’s what you get when you deal with ticks. There are a variety of different ticks in Alabama, and the most prominent are Lonestar Ticks and Deer Ticks, both of which are known to carry dangerous disease-causing bacteria.
Deer Ticks are known to carry Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a well-known bacterial infection caused by a bacterium called Borrelia Burgdorferi. Deer Ticks pick this bacterium up from wild mammals and spread it to humans. Its symptoms range from a large bulls-eye-shaped rash to headaches, fatigue, and other flu-like symptoms. If diagnosed quickly, the infection can be treated with antibiotics. If left untreated, it can lead to a worsening of symptoms that are often misdiagnosed as depression, fibromyalgia, ALS, rheumatoid arthritis, or Multiple Sclerosis.
Not all Alabama tick species carry Lyme disease. In fact, the Deer Ticks are the only species that do. Lone Star Ticks carry Tularemia, or Rabbit Fever, which is caused by the Francisella tularensis bacteria. According to the CDC Website, this infection causes blister-like ulcers on the skin, swollen lymph glands, inflamed eyes, sore throat, diarrhea, and mouth sores. If caught quickly, this infection is also treatable with antibiotics but can have many adverse long-term effects if it goes untreated.
Ticks can find human hosts fairly easily. They live everywhere outside and can be as low as the grass in the yard or overhead on the branches of trees. Ticks are most active from April-August. While there is no way to avoid them altogether, here are a few tips to help you avoid ticks and enjoy the outdoors at the same time.
- Use a bug repellent with high concentrates of DEET
- Treat clothing and gear with products that contain 0.5% permethrin
- Avoid areas with tall grass and decomposing leaves
- Make sure that pets have a flea and tick regimen
- Take a hot shower after being outdoors and thoroughly check yourself for ticks.
The outdoors should be generally safe, as long as you are mindful of being on the lookout for ticks and the symptoms of their bites. If you have been bitten by a tick, contact your physician. If you’ve noticed a large number in your yard, we do have a Flea and Tick treatment at EnviroSpray that can drastically reduce the population and give you back your outdoor space. Contact us today if we can be of service.