Sunday, June 19, 2011

Cover Up.

This is just a reminder about how important it is to cover up and take the proper precautionary measures against ticks.

Ticks are most often known for carrying Lyme disease, but do not be fooled. Ticks carry a multitude of illnesses, often infecting victims with more than one at a time. This results in an illness that is particularly hard to diagnose and to treat. Here's a list of the Center of Disease Control's tick-borne diseases with links to each one:

In the United States, some ticks carry pathogens that can cause human disease, including:
  • Anaplasmosis is transmitted to humans by tick bites primarily from the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) in the northeastern and upper midwestern U.S. and the western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus) along the Pacific coast.
  • Babesiosis is transmitted by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) and is found primarily in the eastern U.S.
  • Ehrlichiosis is transmitted to humans by the lone star tick (Ambylomma americanum), found primarily in the southcentral and eastern U.S.
  • Lyme disease is transmitted by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) in the northeastern U.S. and upper Midwestern U.S. and the western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus) along the Pacific coast.
  • Rickettsia parkeri Rickettsiosis is transmitted to humans by the Gulf Coast tick (Amblyomma maculatum).
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is transmitted by the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni), and the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sangunineus) in the U.S. The brown dog tick and other tick species are associated with RMSF in Central and South America.
  • STARI (Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness) is transmitted via bites from the lone star tick (Ambylomma americanum), found in the southeastern and eastern U.S.
  • Tickborne relapsing fever (TBRF) is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected soft ticks. TBRF has been reported in 15 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming and is associated with sleeping in rustic cabins and vacation homes.
  • Tularemia is transmitted to humans by the dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), the wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni), and the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum). Tularemia occurs throughout the U.S.
  • 364D Rickettsiosis (Rickettsia phillipi, proposed) is transmitted to humans by the Pacific Coast tick (Dermacentor occidentalis ticks). This is a new disease that has been found in
It is important that you seek professional help at the earliest time possible. If possible, save any ticks you pull off of yourself and send them to the proper professionals for testing. The results will tell if you should be tested for the infection.

The best way to fight tick-borne illnesses is to avoid getting bitten in the first place. Here are a few tips:
  • Where light colored clothing so ticks are easily spotted when crawling on you.
  • Where long sleeves and pants. Blouse boots or tuck your pants into your socks.
  • Tie back or braid loose long hair. Even with short hair, a hat or bandanna is recommended to cover your head.
  • Apply insect repellent to cuffs of pants and shirts. (DEET has been known to have adverse effects on synthetic fabrics)
  • When coming in from an environment that has potential ticks, throw your clothes in a drier on high heat. This ensures all ticks on your clothing will be killed. 
  • Conduct a tick check. Be sure to check your hair, ears, neck, armpits, groin, inner thighs, back of the knees, and everywhere else. A mirror is helpful for this if alone.
If a tick is found, remove it with tweezers promptly. Do this by grasping the tick as close to the skin as possible and pulling straight out. You do not want to crush the tick. Do not burn or cover with Vaseline. This may cause them to borrow deeper or to regurgitate saliva, increasing chances of infection.

Do not take the tick threat lightly. They are more than an annoyance, they are dangerous. I am currently fighting Lyme Disease and I can tell you from experience, it is not fun. It has caused my right knee to become inflamed, which prevents me from walking or even fully extending my leg. I have a very heavy limp and am actually using crutches to get around to reduce strain on that leg. I have already had 90cc's of bacterial fluid sucked out of my  knee and it is again swollen to twice it's size. I have started the antibiotic treatment and am icing it everyday. In two weeks is my hiking groups departure date for a ten-day backpacking/canoe trip in Maine. Because of my Lyme disease and joint inflammation I am now unsure if I'll be able to go on this trip that I've been looking forward to all year. Needless to say, I'm heartbroken. We'll have to wait and see how this plays out. Wish me luck.

1 comment:

  1. This is some excellent information, my Dad is currently being treated for Lymes desease and it will screw you up.

    Thanks Bob