Spring is in full swing, and folks are anxious to get outside. People are talking about the latest gear, the best fishing holes and their favorite campsites. But what people don’t talk about this time of year is ticks and how to prevent tick-borne diseases.
No one wants to think about ticks – they’re disgusting! But, a tick bite can have serious consequences. It’s important that you know how to avoid ticks or what to do if you get bit by one so you don’t get sick.
Ticks live near the ground, in brushy or wooded areas. They can’t jump or fly. Instead, they climb tall grasses or shrubs, and wait for a host to brush against them. When this happens, they climb onto the host and seek a warm, safe place for attachment.
- The Best Prevention is Tick Repellant
You can prevent tick bites by using tick repellents. Look for products that contains 20% or more of DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours. Also, treat your clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin.
Ticks can also be brought into your home and transferred to you by your animals. Ask your vet for the best recommendations for treating your dogs and cats for ticks.
In addition to using repellants, shower as soon as you come indoors. Check for ticks, especially under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and on the hairline and scalp.
- What To Do If You Find A Tick
If you do find a tick, remove it ASAP. Early detection is the best way to avoid getting sick.
To remove a tick, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Pull upward steadily. Don’t twist or jerk the tick. This motion can cause it to break at the attachment point and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the remaining part of the tick with clean tweezers. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
Avoid folklore remedies such as nail polish, petroleum jelly, or heat to make the tick detach from the skin.
- How Seasonal Allergies are Impacting Society
Seasonal allergies have had a drastic impact on our daily lives. According to a 2011 study of U.S. allergy visits done by N. Bhattacharyya that was published in The Laryngoscope, allergy visits account for at least 2.5 percent of all clinician visits. That means 2 million lost school days, 6 million lost work days, and 28 million restricted work days per year. The study also found that people with allergies have received twice as many prescriptions as people that don’t have allergies.
In addition, the rise in allergies has also come with a hefty price tag. According to an evaluation in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, patients spent $2.4 billion in 1996 on allergy medications. Plus, doctors billed $1.1 billion for allergy-related medical visits in that same year.
And that doesn’t even take into consideration other possible indirect costs, like natural remedies people used at home.
- Ticks Commonly Found In Colorado
Despite being in the Rocky Mountains, we’re not in an area that’s generally affected by Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Lyme disease, which are more common in the Midwest and Northeast. Other serious tick-borne diseases do impact Colorado. So, let’s talk about local ticks and the specific diseases they carry in this region.
There are two primary types of ticks in our area you should know about – the soft tick and the Rocky Mountain wood tick. The soft tick is found throughout the western half of the U.S. and southwestern Canada at elevations of 4,000 to 10,000 feet. We typically come into contact with soft ticks when we sleep in rodent-infested cabins. The ticks come out at night and feed briefly while the person is sleeping. The bites are painless. As a result, most people don’t even know they’ve been bitten.
The Rocky Mountain wood tick is found in the Rocky Mountain states and southwestern Canada at elevations of 4,000 to 10,500 feet. Adult ticks live in wooded areas and feed primarily on large mammals and humans.
Tick-Bourne Illness in Colorado
Local ticks, primarily in Colorado, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, and southwestern Canada, can transmit the virus that causes Colorado Tick Fever (CTF).
Symptoms generally include fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, and a lack of energy. According to the CDC, about half of CTF patients have a version where they feel better after 2 to 4 days, but then symptoms recur 1 to 3 days later. Affected individuals may also experience eye irritation, throat redness and soreness, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash with pinpoint red spots.
CTF is a virus and unfortunately, there is no cure. However, your doctor can help diagnose it and provide supportive therapy. Tick Borne Relapsing Fever (TBRF), which is caused by a tick-carried bacterium, is another tick-borne disease commonly found in our area. TBRF occurs most commonly in 14 western states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
It usually takes 7 days for symptoms to appear. Subsequently, patients experience a recurring fever that lasts approximately 3 days followed by no-fever periods of 7 days. The symptoms are similar to CTF and includes headache, muscle aches, chills, nausea, vomiting, and joint pain. Your doctor can diagnose TBRF and provide the appropriate care. Tick-Bourne Illness in Colorado If you start to feel ill after a tick bite, see your doctor as soon as possible, especially if you experience symptoms of tick-borne illness, such as fever, rash, headaches, or joint pain.
Your doctor can diagnose TBRF and provide the appropriate care.
- Tick-Bourne Illness in Colorado
If you start to feel ill after a tick bite, see your doctor as soon as possible, especially if you experience symptoms of tick-borne illness, such as fever, rash, headaches, or joint pain.