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Climate Change Causing
"Increases in Tick-Borne Diseases …"
What You Need to Know Before
Venturing Outside This Spring and Summer

© 2015 Health Realizations, Inc.

 

Dog ticks, which are mainly a threat during the spring into summer, do not usually bite people, but that appears to be changing. When the ticks are exposed to higher temperatures, such as may occur as the global climate warms, they appear to acquire a taste for human flesh, a change that could cause an increase in dangerous tick-borne diseases.

Ticks become most active when the weather begins to warm up.

According to research by Didier Raoult, a professor at the University of Marseille School of Medicine in France, hot weather may be making dog ticks turn on humans. They decided to investigate after a series of unusual outbreaks in humans occurred.

Raoult and colleagues incubated 500 brown dog ticks at 77 degrees Fahrenheit and 500 at 104 degrees Fahrenheit. They then placed the ticks on their own arms. After 1.5 hours, about half of the ticks kept at 104 degrees had tried to burrow in, compared to none of those at 77 degrees.

“From a global perspective, we predict that as a result of globalization and warming, more pathogens transmitted by the brown dog tick may emerge in the future,” the researchers wrote in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

What Types of Diseases Do Ticks Transmit?

Ticks are hosts to a variety of life-threatening organisms that lead to many diseases, the most widely known of which is Lyme disease. Other diseases that ticks are capable of transferring to humans include:

  • Anaplasmosis, which causes headaches, fever, chills, and muscle aches that can be confused with common diseases such as the flu.
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which causes fever, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, lack of appetite and severe headache, and may later progress to rash, abdominal pain, joint pain and diarrhea.
  • Mediterranean spotted fever
  • Babesiosis (Texas fever)
  • Ehrlichiosis (primarily transmitted by the lone star tick), which causes fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, joint pains, confusion, cough, diarrhea, vomiting and occasionally rash.
  • Tularemia
  • Colorado tick fever
  • Powassan (a form of encephalitis)
  • Emerging diseases such as Rickettsia parkeri infection

“The illnesses associated with these diseases can vary from mild symptoms treated at home, to severe infections requiring hospitalization for care, with the potential for death in rare cases,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Spring is the Most Active Time for Ticks: How to Stay Safe

Tick season can span anywhere from April to September depending on your location. However, they become most active when the weather begins to warm, which is why springtime is the beginning of prime season for ticks.

Keep Ticks Away Safely With Bug Repellants that are All-Natural

Regular tick control products contain a dangerous mix of pesticides and chemicals that can harm your pet, your environment, and your family.

All-Natural control products like Flea 'n Tick B Gone are an ideal alternative because many are enzyme-based formulas made naturally from plant resources and are truly safe enough to spray directly onto your dog (or horse!). Plus, you can use them as an entirely non-toxic, insect repellant for your backyard. Just mist the area and you're tick- and bug-free for at least three hours!

Look for:

  • 100% Pesticide Free and Non-Toxic
  • Clinically proven to be highly effective

Many people also love to get outdoors during the spring, and the more time you (and your pet) spend outside, the greater your risk of being bitten by a tick becomes. Fortunately, there are some excellent precautions you can take:

  • Avoid tick-infested areas. Many parks and health departments have information about tick infestations.
  • Protect your pets and family with All-Natural Bug Repellants. AVOID using flea and tick treatments on your pets that contain harmful pesticides or chemicals, such as DEET, pyrethrins, synthetic pyrethroids or permethrin, all of which can be harmful and irritating to your pet, the person applying them and your environment.
  • Protect your outdoor gathering and backyard. All-Natural Bug Repellants can also be sprayed around your patio, outdoor gathering, picnic area or entire backyard as a safe way to repel ticks (and also other insects like ants, bees, fleas and more). Simply lightly mist the outdoor area, and all types of bugs will be gone -- and it lasts for a full three hours!
  • Keep your yard well maintained, trimmed and mowed. This will help to keep ticks away.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants. When hiking or spending any amount of time in nature, you should cover your arms and legs, and tuck your pants into your socks. This will make it much harder for a tick to attach to you.

What to Do if a Tick Bites You (or Your Pet)

After spending time outdoors, you should always inspect your body (or your pet’s) for signs of ticks. Though most bites are painless, you may see some redness or feel slight itching or burning.

If you find a tick on your pet, use a pair of tweezers and grab the tick's head (as close to the dog's skin as possible). Pull straight out until the tick is removed (being careful to remove the entire tick). All-natural Bug Repellants can also be sprayed directly onto the tick to help with removal plus repel others unseen or from being brought later into the house.

The tweezer method is also very effective for people. After removing the tick, wash your hands thoroughly and cleanse the area with a bit of alcohol. You may want to seal the tick in a jar and save it in case any symptoms develop.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, if a tick is attached to the skin for less than 24 hours, there's a very low risk of infection. So, the sooner you remove the tick the better.

Again, although risk of infection is likely low if you’ve been bitten by a tick and removed it right away, keep an eye out for symptoms of tick-borne disease in yourself or your pet. Tick-borne illnesses typically don't start showing symptoms for days or weeks, so if you notice anything suspicious in the days or weeks to come, see your doctor or vet right away. This includes:

  • A rash
  • A fever
  • A stiff neck
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain and inflammation
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Flu-like symptoms

Be sure to tell your doctor you’ve recently had a tick bite (and bring the tick with you to the doctor’s appointment, if possible).


Sources

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

MSNBC.com

ScienceDaily.com

CDC: Tickborne Rickettsial Diseases

MayoClinic.com: Tick Bites First Aid


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