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Whether you lead an active, outdoorsy lifestyle, or have young school-going children, if you stay in and around Pennsylvania, you may be familiar with tick bites. With ticks being attracted to humans and pets, you or someone around you has probably been bitten by this pesky bug at some point.
Tick infestations are a common occurrence in several parts of the country. While they usually breed and multiply in the summer months, they can remain active through a large part of the year, as long as the temperature stays above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. These blood sucking parasites usually hide in shrubs, wooded, grassy areas and leaf piles, and cling to your bodies, especially when you are outdoors. Since they can easily move between both humans and pets, they can transfer themselves to anyone who comes in contact with the original body that they latched on to.
Symptoms and Treatments for Tick Bites
If you or someone you know suffers tick bites, here is what you should know and expect:
- Once they get on your body, these black-legged parasites will move towards the warm, moist areas such as your armpits, groin and hair. In these areas, they can hide easily and are hard to spot.
- Ticks tend to cling to your skin and keep drawing blood for several days once they have bitten you. If you haven’t found the bug on your body while washing up or bathing, it will continue to suck your blood for up to 10 days. After that, an inflated tick can detach itself and fall off.
- Tick bites are usually harmless and asymptomatic. However, if you are highly sensitive to bites, you may experience mild pain, swelling or a burning sensation at the site of the bite. At times, your skin may break out into a rash or blisters. In rare, severe cases, you may experience difficulty in breathing.
- Tick-borne diseases can be passed on to human hosts when they bite into your skin. Some of the commonly known diseases include Lyme disease, Colorado tick fever and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. If you have been infected by such a disease, you may notice a variety of symptoms, several days or weeks after the bite. These include nausea, full body rash, weakness, muscle or joint pain, fever, chills, or swollen lymph nodes. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of these symptoms. In fact, medical practitioners suggest that patients should highlight a tick bite to their doctor as soon as they discover one. In areas where Lyme disease is common, under certain conditions, doctors start a precautionary treatment, even before any symptoms show up.
- When you find a tick on your body, the best way to remove it is with a pair of tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to your skin’s surface as you can and pull it away from your skin in a straight upward motion. Submerge the bug in a bowl of rubbing alcohol to make sure it is dead, and then place it in a sealed container. Check your bite site for any residue, and clean your skin with soap and water.
h2>Preventing Tick Bites
There are several precautions that you can take to minimize your risk of tick bites and tick borne diseases.
- Cover yourself well when you head into wooded areas and use tick repellants on your body as well as clothes.
- Wash up and clean yourself well as soon as you are back from outdoor areas that are prone to this parasite.
- Check your vulnerable areas for these pesky creatures each time you bathe or shower. Do the same for your young children who may be exposed to this pest while they mingle with other children in school and outdoor activities.
- Protect your property from becoming a breeding ground for ticks. Keep your yard clean, avoid piling up dry leaves and install a strong protective barrier to keep away tick-bearing deer.