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A Season For Ticks

We are approaching much warmer weather to start into the summer season for this year. All of the flowers are bloomed, trees have their green leaves back, and there is a lot more outside activity. Not only does the warm weather let there be more outside activity, but ticks are also crawling around.

There was an article in the Free Lance Star on April 30th, 2019 that stated tick season around the area is going to be a bad one according to the health and pest control officials. Not only is this season going to be a bad one within the area, there is a new type of tick on the rise called the Asian Longhorn tick. This tick was introduced on sheep in New Jersey back in 2017. It is now discovered in eight other states including Virginia. This tick can produce up to 2,000 eggs at a time and can reproduce without mating.

Virginia had 1,041 confirmed Lyme disease cases between 2016-2017. This number could be more due to the under-reporting of tick borne diseases. Lyme disease is an illness that is transmitted through infected black-legged or deer tick. These ticks must be attached to you for at least 36-48 hours in order to transfer the disease. If the tick is removed within 48 hours, then you are not likely to get infected.

The symptoms of Lyme disease can be just like the flu: fever, chills, headache,

fatigue, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes. A rash is one of the first symptoms up to 80% of all Lyme infections. The earlier the treatment will hinder the disease from progressing.

Here are the stages of Lyme infection.

Early Localized Lyme: Flu like symptoms, a rash that has a “bulls-eye” appearance

Early Disseminated Lyme: flu like symptoms, pain, weakness or numbness in the arms and legs, changes in vision, chest pain, heart palpitations, rash, facial paralysis

Late Disseminated Lyme: arthritis, sever fatigue, headaches, vertigo, sleep disturbances, mental confusion.

The lone star tick is one of the three most common ticks in Virginia that brings problems. It transfers the alpha gal, which is a sugar module, from mammals to people. The human body develops antibodies which can affect a person from eating red meat. The body attacks the invading module with symptoms ranging from hives to violent vomiting and diarrhea.

Here are some tips to help protect you, your family, and pets from ticks.

1. Wear insect repellent clothing. The fabric is treated with repellent that binds itself to the fibers. If you are not able to find this type of clothing, DIY. Buy a can of permethrin repellent and treat the clothing by spraying the repellent onto them.

2. Use repellent that has DEET, picaridin, or lemon eucalyptus oil to exposed skin.

3. Depending on the length of time you are outdoors, check yourself and others periodically for ticks. This includes pets.

4. After the day is finished, run all the day's clothing through the dryer on high heat for at least 10 minutes. This will kill any live ticks on the clothing so the pests will not crawl elsewhere off the clothing.

6. While showering for the night, make sure you check yourself thoroughly including your hair and any hidden spots which include behind the ears, hair line, armpits, groin, and belly button. Make it easy for each family member by checking each other, especially hard areas, like in the hair.

7. If you have pets, rub your pet down daily to locate any hidden bumps which can indicate a tick.

8. Always make sure you know the symptoms to look for if you or your love one has been bitten by a tick. These could include a bull's eye rash or flu like symptoms.

Ticks are going to wreak havoc this season. This is the time to protect you and your family from these pests.

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