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July 21, 2018

Summer means more time spent outdoors where we are exposed to more pests, some of which can be dangerous to our health. Mosquitoes often get a lot of attention but we cannot forget about the pest that lurks in the grass: ticks. Not only are tick bites painful but they can transmit dangerous diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the U.S.

There are about 200 species of ticks in the United States alone. Ticks live in tall grass or shrubs, and while they do not jump or fly, they may drop from their perch and fall onto a host. Tick populations can be made worse by mild winters and increases in mice and deer populations.

Lyme disease rates have steadily increased since the 1990s, and thousands of cases may still go unreported. Lyme disease is a bacterial illness that can affect the skin, joints, heart, and nervous system. This disease is a worldwide infectious disease and has been reported in all 50 states. It occurs in phases, with the early phase beginning at the site of the tick bite where an expanding ring of redness will appear. It can be treated with antibiotics. Signs of Lyme disease include:

  • Expanding reddish rash and skin inflammation
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • disseminated disease with heart and nervous system involvement
  • Motor and sensory nerve damage and brain inflammation, as well as arthritis

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If you find yourself with a tick bite, follow these instructions to remove and treat the bite. To protect yourself while spending time outdoors this summer, apply insect repellent with at least 20%  DEET and wear light-colored clothing and closed-toe shoes. Always perform a thorough check of clothing, skin, and hair when returning indoors. Don’t forget about your furry friends, too! If you have not already, consider talking to a veterinarian about preventative treatments for your pets. As always, call 877-DEAD-BUG to protect your property and your family with our professional help!

For additional information on Lyme disease please visit the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) website.