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Everything You Need to Know About Ticks and How to Avoid Lyme Disease

What Do Ticks Look Like? 

Ticks are tiny, blood-sucking insects that can range from being as small as a pin’s head to as massive as a pencil eraser. These pests have eight legs and are arachnids. Meaning, they are related to spiders. These ticks come in various colors that range from shades of brown to black and reddish-brown. 

These ticks grow bigger with the more blood they drink. Some of the largest ticks are known to grow up to the size of a marble. These creatures become engorged and can turn greenish-blue after feeling on its host for a few days. 

How Do Ticks Spread Lyme Disease? 

The Lyme disease bacterium known as Borrelia burgdorferi is spread through bites from an infected tick. However, three other main species of bacteria cause this Lyme disease. This disease is classified as one of the most common tick-borne illnesses. Due to this, it’s beneficial to understand the symptoms commonly associated with Lyme disease. 

What are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease? 

The indications of Lyme disease can vary. In most cases, the symptoms of this disease appear in stages and typically overlap. 

Early Stages of Lyme Disease 

A tiny, red bump generally appears and resembles a mosquito bite. This bump often appears at the tick bite site or where the tick was removed. This is a normal occurrence when getting bitten by a tick and doesn’t indicate any sign of Lyme disease. 

Nonetheless, these signs listed below can occur after one month of the initial bite: 

  • A rash – An expanding red area may appear after three to 30 days of the initial bite. It’s sometimes clear in the center and resembles a bulls-eye pattern. 
  • Other symptoms – Although a rash is the most prevalent, you can also experience neck stiffness, headaches, fatigue, fever, chills, body aches, and swollen lymph nodes. 

Later Stages of Lyme Disease 

If the early stages of Lyme disease go untreated, new symptoms are bound to appear in the weeks or months that follow. These include: 

  • Joint pain – Severe joint pain and swelling are likely to affect areas around your knees. However, this pain can shift from one joint to the other. 
  • Erythema migrans – The initial rash at the early stages of Lyme disease might appear in other areas of your body. 
  • Neurological problems – You may develop inflammation of the membranes around your brain, weakness or numbness to your limbs, temporary paralysis to one side of your face, and impaired muscle movement. This can occur weeks, months, or years after the initial bite if left untreated. 

What are the Risk Factors of Contracting Lyme Disease? 

Where you reside or vacation places a part in your chances of contracting Lyme disease. In addition to this, your outdoor hobbies and profession can also contribute to the risk of getting infected. However, the most common risk factors for Lyme disease are: 

Spending Time in Grassy or Wooded Areas

Deer ticks are typically found in heavily wooded areas. In the US, this applies to regions of the Midwest and Northeast. Kids who are spending copious amounts of time outdoors in these areas are especially at risk of contracting this disease. In addition to this, the risk is also increased for adults who have outdoor jobs in these regions. 

Having Exposed Skin 

Ticks are notorious for easily attaching to bare flesh. Due to this, you should protect yourself and your kids if you’re in an area where ticks are commonly found. You can do this by wearing long sleeves and long pants. Not to mention, you should also restrict your dog from venturing into tall grasses and weeds. 

Not Removing Ticks Properly or Promptly

Many doctors believe that bacteria commonly associated with ticks can enter your bloodstream through a tick bite. This bacteria spreads to the bloodstream if the tick remains attached to the skin for up to 48 hours or longer. With that being said, removing this tick from your skin within two days helps to lower the risk of contracting Lyme disease. 

How Can You Prevent Tick Bites? 

One of the best methods of preventing Lyme disease is by avoiding any areas where deer ticks are known to conjugate. This is especially in bushy, wooded areas that have long grass. In addition to this, you can also reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease by following some simple precautions mentioned below:  

Use Insect Repellent 

Applying an insect repellent that has a concentration of 20 percent or more DEET to your skin is incredibly beneficial to reducing the risk of tick bites. With that being said, it’s important to keep in mind that chemical repellents can be toxic, which is why you should follow the instructions carefully. Moreover, you should also apply products with permethrin to clothing. Alternatively, you can buy pretreated clothing. 

Cover Up 

When you’re walking in a grassy or wooden area, you should have your long pants tucked into your socks, wear closed shoes, and a long-sleeve shirt with gloves and a hat. In addition to this, it would also be advantageous to select trails and avoid walking through long grass or low bushes. 

Tick-Proof Your Yard 

Making sure your yard is free from ticks might be a daunting task, but you can apply some measures in place like clearing leaves and bushes where ticks are commonly found. You can also mow your lawn regularly and stack wood in a neat pile where it’s sunny and dry. This helps keep tock-carrying rodents away from the property. 

Remove a Tick as Quickly as Possible 

If you do find yourself with a tick, you should remove it as soon as possible. You can do this by gently grasping the tick near its mouth or head. Pull it carefully and try not to squeeze or crush it. After removing the entire tick, you can dispose of this pest by flushing it down the toilet or placing it in alcohol. From here, you should apply antiseptic cream to the bite site. 

If you’re looking for the right team to handle the issue for you, Synergy² is here to help. We provide trusted services throughout the area, so contact us for the best pest control services around.

Feel free to read more about us and decide if Synergy² is the right company for you.  We have over 270 Five-Star Google reviews for pest control service in the Jackson metro area (Jackson/Madison/Brandon/Ridgeland). Check out our newest location reviews for pest control service in Jackson, MS here at Synergy² Jackson Pest Control!

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