Summer is a great time for outdoor enthusiasts; you can walk, hike and jog and just generally enjoy nature and all it has to offer. And while it is important to have a healthy outdoor lifestyle, dog owners and hikers need to be aware of the possible dangers of summer, including ticks. These bloodsucking ectoparasites are known to cause several diseases in people and animals, are, for the most part, dormant during the long winter months but as soon as the temperature increases, so does tick activity. And with the increased reports of people contracting diseases from ticks, pest control experts in Niagara want to share some advice for keeping safe.
Protect your family from ticks this summer
Ticks are often found in tall grass or bushes. They will rest on the tip of a blade of grass or leaf before opportunistically attaching themselves to any animal or person that pass their way. It is a misconception that ticks can jump and the only way that they can be transferred from a plant onto a living host like a dog, cat or person is via direct contact. Obviously, you can avoid ticks if you stay out of their habitat, but this is not always possible or practical, especially if you enjoy hiking or walking your dog in forests, parks or on mountain trails.
The most effective way to prevent ticks from attaching themselves to your skin is to wear protective clothing, like long-sleeved shirts and long pants, while hiking, gardening and doing outdoor activities. You should also tuck your pants into your socks to minimize the amount of exposed skin. You can also use an insect repellent that contains DEET, permethrin or picaridin.
If you’ve been outdoors for a long period of time or you’ve been in areas that are known to be infested by ticks, shower immediately when you are home and do a thorough tick check. Deer ticks can easily be mistaken for freckles on your skin so look closely.
Check Your Pets for Ticks
During a one-hour walk, ten to fifteen ticks can easily find their way onto your dog and therefore it is imperative to check your pets regularly for ticks, especially if they spend a great deal of time outdoors or you walk them often. Wash your pets frequently with an appropriate shampoo that is specifically formulated to remove ticks and other bugs. Consult your vet for advice about the best preventative tick medication or program that you can get for your pets.
Know the early symptoms of tick-borne diseases
The majority of tick-borne diseases have similar symptoms and these can range from relatively mild to so severe that they require hospitalization. Most tick-related illnesses can be treated with antibiotics and early diagnosis and treatment can reduce the risk of serious complications.
An infected black-legged (or deer) tick can transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease through their saliva and if you find a black-legged tick on your skin, you must remove it immediately using a tick removal tool. Fortunately, you have about 24 to 48 hours to remove an infected tick before the transmission of Lyme disease takes place. Not all black-legged ticks carry Lyme disease but if you do get bitten, consult a medical professional immediately so that you can get tested for Lyme disease.
The most common symptoms of tickborne diseases include:
- Severe headaches with a stiff neck and muscle aches
- Flu-like symptoms including chills and fevers
- Swollen lymph glands
- A rash that appears between three to thirty days after you have been bitten
- Numbness, weakness or tingling arms, legs, feet and hand
If you are experiencing any symptoms as a result of a tick bite, seek medical advice immediately. Pest control for your Niagara property is always important. Raccoons, rats, squirrels and other animals can all carry ticks and Truly Nolen can help you protect your home from unwanted animal activity.