Officials say ticks are on the rise in Pennsylvania and a recent study determined that half tested positive for Lyme disease. Unfortunately, tick season is supposed to be bad this year. New Lyme disease infections happen in the spring and summer if temperatures are warmer and it will happen sooner due to the distribution of the deer tick or blacklegged tick. This is the tick species that transmit Lyme disease and Pennsylvania is home to large population of deer that the ticks like to feed on. Warm weather has us spending more time outdoors. The previous wet winter and a resulting explosion of acorns is another factor in large numbers of Lyme disease infected ticks. Mice love acorns, so with larger numbers of acorns will come larger numbers of mice for ticks that carry Lyme disease to latch onto.
Lyme Disease & Ticks
Ticks can vary in size from the period at the end of a sentence to a sesame seed depending on the stage they are at, the sex and when they had their last meal. When young ticks emerge from eggs they aren’t infected and will only become infected when they feed on infected mice. When they get bigger, they will feed on larger animals like deer. Deer are great at moving the ticks around and the mice are the reservoir of the disease. The peak season for contracting Lyme is May through October but they can be active all year round. Ticks need to be attached for at least 24 hours for the Lyme disease to be transmitted. This is why it is so important to check yourself out before coming into the house. The CDC claims that Lyme disease numbers are probably higher because many times it goes untreated. Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, chills, fatigue, headaches, joint and muscle pain and swollen lymph nodes. These can be alone or in any combination; making it very hard to diagnose because the signs and symptoms mimic those of so many other diseases or conditions. Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics. The sooner it is diagnosed, the faster recovery will be. Left untreated, the disease can spread to the heart, joints and nervous system. There is currently no vaccine for Lyme disease.
How to Prevent Lyme Disease After a Tick Bite
Not all ticks are infected with the Lyme disease bacteria, so you will not know if the tick that latches on to you is carrying Lyme. DEET products are effective at keeping ticks off you. You should avoid walking through areas with tall vegetation. Tuck your pants into your socks because ticks climb up. They don’t fly, jump or fall out of trees. Rake leaves and create a “dry zone” between wooded areas and your yard by using wood chips to keep them from coming into your safe zone. If you’ve protected yourself the best you can and you think you still might have been bitten, you should seek medical attention if you experience any symptoms, even if you can’t find a bite mark. Be extra vigilant if you spend lots of time outdoors.
Pennsylvania is the nation’s leader in Lyme disease. Professionals like Stewart Termite & Pest Control can identify potential problem areas and create a treatment plan for year-round protection. Contact Stewart Termite & Pest Control to help you keep your family safe.