I’d Like To Check You For Ticks
Country music super star Brad Paisley wrote a now famous song called Ticks. His lyrical prose includes the famous line, “And I’d like to check you for ticks.” This is something that most of us can relate to, our moms probably did it after we came in from playing outside. But is this something that we should take seriously, or is it just a funny thing to say, or sing about?
Ticks can carry a multitude of really bad diseases, including but not limited to Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Colorado Fever, Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI,) Ehrlichiosis, Powassan Disease, Rickettsiosis, Heartland Virus, 364D Rickettsiosis, and Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever just to name a few. Different species of Ticks carry different diseases, and none of them are any good for humans.
Probably the most commonly known diseases are Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Lyme Disease is caused by the bacterium transmitted to humans by the notorious Blacklegged Tick in the North-Central United States and the Western Blacklegged Tick in the Pacific Coastal areas. Symptoms of Lyme Disease include, a rash surrounding the bite, a general body pain, stiffness, muscle pain and fever. The rash most generally shows up a few days after the bite, but can be prolonged from appearing as long as a month. The rash is the first sign of infection and the fever will follow right behind the appearance of the rash.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is transmitted by the American Dog Tick, the Brown Dog Tick and the Rocky Mountain Wood Tick. These killers can be found primarily in the Southeastern and Atlantic Coast states, but cases have been identified throughout the United States. No state is immune. Symptoms of RMSF include, fever, headaches, severe abdominal pain, vomiting and general muscle pain. Often RMSF is misdiagnosed as the flu because a rash may not appear. Unfortunately, if not treated within the first few symptomatic days, RMSF can result in severe illness or even death. Very serious stuff.
Most people couple Fleas and Ticks in their thought processes. We think, if we have one we most likely will have both. They both appear around the same time of the year and wind up hitchhiking, and sucking, on our beloved pets. They also drop from trees on to our heads. We most definitely know when we have a flea infestation in the house – they’re everywhere and are nasty little ankle biters. But Ticks are dramatically different than Fleas and, as you now know, can be deadly. Literally.
So now that you know the severity of illnesses these killers can impart on humans, let’s talk a little bit about what we can do to prevent these crazy things from happening to us and our families.
Ticks seek out the safety of hidden places in the home. They can be found along cracks and crevices in cabinets and under baseboards. They won’t stray far from the host, so look along window casings and baseboards where Fido sleeps. They mostly find dark areas that can be hidden from plain sight. If you find them, this would be the time when you need professional help. They can multiply pretty rapidly and things can get out of hand quickly.
If you find Ticks on Fido or Kitty, or Hubby or Wifey for that matter, be extremely careful with removal. Mishandling the removal may expose the victim to harmful bacteria and diseases. Use tweezers and make sure that you grab as close to the tip if the head of this monster. Slowly pull back taking great caution not to crush the body. The mouthparts must be completely removed. Flush that beast down the toilet and keep searching for any friends he may have brought with him.
So how about prevention? Well, Ticks live outside so every ounce of prevention needs to be spent there. They love tall grass, so keeping your yard cut is super important. Remove all bird nests and rodent nesting materials. If Fido has a doghouse outside, try to clean it out thoroughly and keep it cleaned out through the summer months.
Sealing any cracks and crevices on the outside of the home with caulking will help prevent entry, and one of the most effective ways to keep them from coming in is to have a Pest Control program that focuses its work on the outside of the house by applying a perimeter barrier. Lastly, make sure that Fido and Kitty are protected using any of the Flea and Tick prevention products from your veterinarian.
Ticks are killers, literally. Taking them lightly can cause some life-changing problems for you and your family. So do everyone in your family a favor, heed the advice of Brad Paisley and check each other for Ticks!
If you think you have a Tick infestation, or just see a few Ticks, please don’t waste time. Call us immediately and we’ll get to work on taking care of the problem.
If you would like more information or need our direct help, call Okeena today!
Have a great week!
“Uncle” Adam Malanga