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Tick Bites And Diseases

Tick Bites And Diseases

Many people mistakenly think of ticks as being insects, but they actually belong in the same group as do spiders. Ticks of one species or another are found in every part of the United States, and will feed upon any animal that has blood in it. It is possible to find ticks not only on human beings, dogs, and cats, but also on birds, rodents, and reptiles. Ticks are easy to acquire during warm weather simply by walking through your yard. Any expedition into the fields or woods can supply you with some unwanted passengers. The most common ticks are the dog or wood tick and the deer tick.

The Deer Tick

This tick is very small, with the male of the species being hardly larger than a period on this page. The female is somewhat larger, but still very difficult to spot, especially in any hairy spots. This is the tick renowned for spreading Lyme Disease. It is important that after being outside to check yourself carefully and remove any ticks before they have a chance to attach, as they usually wander around for a while before biting.

When a tick has spread Lyme Disease to you, the bite will generally let you know. Rather than just presenting a red bump, rings will appear around the bite like those on a target. Generally, the longer a tick on embedded in your skin, the greater the chances of infection. Besides the target pattern on the skin, you will also have a fever, and experience flu-like symptoms. You will also probably have pain in your joints. Medical attention is necessary, and doxycycline or tetracycline will usually clear up the infection within two weeks.

Deer ticks can also spread Ehrlichiosis, which will present very similar symptoms to Lyme Disease, but without the presence of the target on the skin. Abdominal cramps and diarrhea can also be present. The treatment is the same as for Lyme Disease, and prompt attention is necessary to prevent more serious complications.

The Dog Tick

Despite their name, these ticks do not confine themselves to dogs, and will happily infest any blooded animal. These ticks are found nearly everywhere, and their only virtue is that they are much larger than the deer tick and thereby easier to spot. They also tend to be easier to remove, than the deer tick, as the mouthparts are not as likely to be as deeply embedded.

Dog ticks can carry Ehrlichiosis, as can deer ticks, but they are probably known best for carrying Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. This disease causes fever, rash, vomiting, confusion, headache, and sometimes abnormal sensitivity to light. This disease will be treated with the same medications as used for Lyme Disease and Ehrlichiosis, and prompt treatment will generally lead to a full recovery.

Safely Removing Ticks

From personal experience, I know that ticks can be very difficult to remove once they have embedded themselves in your flesh. Deer ticks are worse, in my opinion, as their mouthparts are longer and more barbed than those of the dog or wood tick. When attempting to remove a tick, use pointed tweezers and grasp the wretch as close to the skin as possible. Do not squeeze the body of the tick, as this will introduce more infective agent into you. Use a slow and steady motion to pull the tick out. If the mouthparts break off, see a physician to have them removed. Wash the bite and your hands when you are through, and apply an antibiotic cream to the bite.

Pets are part of the family too. Make sure to always have a first aid kit built for pets on hand. These contain first aid guides, bandages for dogs and cats and many more products made to make sure your pets stay healthy. There are also ones made specifically for cats and dogs if you have several of one or the other. Either way, prepare for their safety today!