With the exception of the spotted ladybug or even a fuzzy caterpillar, I would rather not encounter bugs too often. However, they are part of our ecosystem, our planet earth, and we must learn to coexist. True, bugs can certainly cause annoyance at an outdoor event or a relaxing picnic with their stingers and venom and germs, but there is a particular nasty specimen that I am focusing on here that can seriously affect your long-term health – the tick.
Please come along and get properly introduced – it is a combatant you really need to know more about to better protect you and your family.
TWO TICKS TYPES TO ESPECIALLY AVOID
Let me get a little science-nerdy on you right now and clarify that the tick is not an insect, but a parasite. Further, they are classified as an arachnid with eight legs, rather than the six-legged insect. They also do not have wings or antennae like insects, either. But there are over 800 different species of them, and insect or arachnid, they can spell trouble and here are two bullies in the crowd with a bit about each and why you need to stay clear:
1. Deer Ticks
They are tiny – the size of a pencil point and brown. They are primarily found in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions of the United States. All ticks can carry various diseases and cause potential harm; however, the deer tick is the one that carries Lyme Disease.
Deer ticks are not only found on deer or tin he woods. A common visitor in many homes, the mouse, can be a big carrier of ticks and the Lyme disease they carry.
2. Dog Ticks
They are larger than the deer tick. They are the size of a pencil eraser and have a white collar. Although they do not carry Lyme Disease, they can carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a serious complication.
TICK BITES AND SYMPTOMS
- pain and swelling
- redness which usually disappears within a week
- fever and chills
- shortness of breath
- red bulls-eye rash around the bite
- muscle weakness
- trouble walking
- loss of appetite
This is important: Do not apply Vaseline, nail polish remover, matches, soap, or any of the other old wives tales to remove the tick. This could irritate the tick causing it to release more germs.
breaking anything off which could spread germs.
4. After removal, using sterile cotton balls, clean area thoroughly as well as your hands with rubbing alcohol. Never crush the tick with your fingers as it could spread germs.5. Immerse tick in alcohol and dispose of dead tick in a sealed container and get tested for Lyme or other diseases to see if you need treatment. Scroll on down for details on why this can be important
HOW TO TREAT A TICK BITE
Here are some important caveats of treating a tick bite and why actually saving the tick could be critical to your health:
- Saving the tick in a sealed bag provides important clues of the tick type and can narrow the doctor’s list of possible diagnosis. Some doctors prefer to send the tick to a lab to check for disease as well.
- Although the majority of tick bites do not result in symptoms or disease, positive blood tests for diseases such as Lyme, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and others do not show up for two to six weeks post tick bite. Thus, a doctor could treat with preventive antibiotics immediately if the tick tests positive or take a wait and see approach.
- A blood test six weeks after the bite is probably a good idea regardless of which approach you choose with your doctor.
FOR EVEN MORE ON THE TOPIC . . .
- There are lots of things you can do for yourself and your family to feel a whole lot better! Make sure to follow this board for home recoveries to all sorts of ailments.
- Want to get outdoors and need picnic ideas? Got all the details covered right here to make it memorable.