The warm weather is finally here (for most of us), which means it’s almost time for fun, outdoor activities! We’re not the only ones who are excited to spend time outside; disease-spreading insects are becoming more and more common as tick season, which begins in the spring, approaches. This puts us at risk of the illness that they carry, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. To avoid these pests, here are some of the most common ticks and how to deal with them.
Types of Ticks
American Dog Tick
This type of tick prefers dogs, hence the name, or other medium-sized hosts, but they have no problem latching onto humans either. They most commonly spread Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia, and they are actually the number one cause of the former in humans.
While it is most commonly referred to as the deer tick, this insect goes by multiple names: Ixodes scapularis and the black-legged tick are popular as well. These ticks tend to bite deer, and their eating habits can actually influence which diseases they spread. They are usually responsible for transmitting babesiosis, Lyme disease, and anaplasmosis.
Brown Dog Tick
Like the American dog tick, this insect prefers dogs or other similarly sized hosts. Found throughout the United States, the Brown dog tick is a carrier of Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Gulf Coast Tick
As the name suggests, these ticks are located throughout the Gulf Coast. Their preferred host is deer, and past research has shown that they spread a specific form of mountain fever.
Lone Star Ticks
Like the deer tick and Gulf Coast tick, the Lone Star tick prefers deer. Their small white dots on their backs make them unique, and they often spread tularemia, Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI), and human ehrlichiosis.
Seed ticks are not their own species; in fact, they’re larval ticks. Adult female ticks feed and mate on their host before dropping to the ground to create thousands of eggs, which then hatch into ‘seed ticks.’
Treating a Tick Bite
Everybody knows the old-fashioned method of removing a tick: pulling it off and crushing it. Experts say that this method is fine, you might just want to use a glove to stop all chances of infection. They also recommend gently pulling as close as you can to the head, washing the area afterwards, and using antibiotic ointment.
How to Spot a Tick-Borne Illness
If you’re feeling sickly, flu-like symptoms, then there is a reason to be concerned. Fever and fatigue are common, as are rashes. When going to the doctor to address these symptoms, make sure to alert your doctor to any tick bites or any activities that put you at a higher risk of bites.
Unfortunately, the warm weather is here, and the ticks are here to stay. Knowing what to look out for and how to deal with a bite stops them from spoiling your summer. Read more about ticks and how to deal with them here!