Top Five Reasons to Stay Away from Ticks
It is never fun to have a creepy creature sucking on your blood, but when it also manages to make you sick in the process, it’s even worse. This is how the dreaded tick works; if you are lucky, your tick bite won’t lead to anything worse. However, that is not the case for all, since around 30,000 confirmed cases of Lyme disease, the scariest disease ticks spread, is reported in the United States each year. Furthermore, the estimate of unconfirmed infection ranges around 300,000 cases. It is always a good idea to know your enemy, and here are five reasons why preventing ticks from getting anywhere near you is absolutely necessary:
The worst part about ticks is that it is extremely difficult to spot them. A tick could be happily sucking on your blood right now, but you would probably not even be aware of it. In most cases, chances are that you won’t even feel the tick bite, let alone see it. However, if a red mark randomly appears on your body, then it could be a sign that a tick was making a meal out of you earlier. If you have ever seen a tick feeding on you, you belong to the three to twenty-six percent of people who can spot ticks while getting bitten.
It is bad enough that a tick is crawling on you; what’s worse is that once it finds a nice spot to bite, it sticks around for a while. This is a behavior not similar to mosquitoes that bite and then fly off quickly. A tick takes its time in preparing itself before starting to feed, and once it’s done with that, it makes a cut on the skin and then inserts its feeding tube inside. Some ticks have been even known to discharge a cement like substance that ensures that their bodies are firmly attached to the host’s skin. Once in favorable position, it can stay there for around two to three days.
Apart from Lyme disease, there are several other diseases that a tick can spread, such as Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Borrelia miyamotoi, Bourbon virus disease and so on. Since human beings aren’t the only food source, or even the ideal food source for ticks to munch on, they like to move from one mammal to another in the search for fresh blood. They can be found on deer, birds, rats and so on, apart from dogs and cats that several human beings spend a lot of time around.
While hopping around from one creature to another, they have the capacity to spread diseases to each creature as well to pick up dangerous bacteria that might be present on their bodies. By the time the tick reaches you, it could have picked up upto three diseases which it would likely spread to you. The common ticks in the United States that can spread the deadliest of diseases are deer ticks, dog ticks and Lone Star ticks.
As of now, with the number of ticks rising with each passing year, and with the ever-looming danger of being affected by tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease, it is high time that a vaccine that works against ticks is introduced in the market. However, the bad news is that while there is a Lyme vaccine for dogs (since dogs are capable of getting Lyme disease too), there is no such vaccine, at least an effective or approved one, that will work well on human beings. Even in the case of dogs, the vaccine does not work as well as it should. If a vaccine is under development, chances are that it will take several years before it becomes actually available in the market. Till then, you will have to pray for luck and hold on to your tick spray.
Ticks belonging to one species or the other can always be found throughout the year, but they are most easily spottable, or spreadable during the summer and spring seasons. These seasons together are even called peak tick season, and people are asked to be extra careful for these tiny creatures more so than any other time of the year. It is in temperatures above seven degrees that ticks thrive, even though they can survive fine in freezing cold temperatures. While on a large scale, climate changes are bringing up the temperatures throughout the year, on a smaller scale this is paving the way for ticks to be more active than ever before.
By now, you must have realized that ticks are indeed harmful, and that it is a good idea for you and your dog to stay away from them as far as possible. But worry not. If you take the right kind of measures, you can safely protect yourself from ticks and all the unwanted diseases that they carry.