With the April showers behind us and May flowers starting to bloom, warm weather is finally here! With warmer weather brings more outdoor activities, as well as the possibility of a tick bite. May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month and Mosquito Joe is joining the fight to protect families and furry friends from this tick-borne illness.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease was first detected in 1976 in Lyme, Connecticut and most commonly occurs in the Northeast, upper Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions. It is estimated that about 300,000 people are diagnosed each year. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. In most cases, the tick must be attached for 36 to 48 hours or more before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted.
Signs and Symptoms
Early symptoms of Lyme disease usually begin from 3 to 30 days after being bitten by an infected tick. The most common early stage symptom is a rash where the tick was attached. This rash starts as a small red area that spreads outward to look like a bullseye. One may also experience flu-like symptoms, such as headache, fever, sore and aching muscles and joints, stiff neck, fatigue and swollen glands.
If you experience any of the following symptoms and have had a tick bite, it is important to seek medical attention. Untreated Lyme disease can produce a wide range of symptoms, depending on the stage of infection. Some of these symptoms may include fever, facial paralysis and arthritis.
If you develop any of the above symptoms within several weeks of removing a tick, it’s important that you see your healthcare provider. When Lyme disease is diagnosed in the early stages, people usually recover rapidly and completely. In order to be treated, you will be given antibiotics by your healthcare provider, which most commonly are doxycycline, amoxicillin or cefuroxime axetil.
However, you can get Lyme disease again if you are bitten by another infected tick, so it is important to protect yourself from tick bites.
Preventing Tick Bites
Although it’s not possible to completely protect yourself from getting a tick bite, there are steps you can take to reduce your chances. Tick activity is higher during the warmer months, but ticks can be out anytime the temperature is about 45 degrees Fahrenheit. With the help from Mosquito Joe, you can get ahead of any tick problems you might have this season, while also implementing the following habits:
- Keep grass short and underbrush thinned at your home.
- Move wood piles away from the home.
- Wear light-colored clothes to help you spot ticks easily.
- Check your body for ticks and shower within two hours of being outdoors.
- Move swing sets, sandboxes and other play areas to avoid tick bites.
- Keep pets out of thickly wooded areas where tick activity is high and talk to your veterinarian about tick control options.
- Let Mosquito Joe be your second line of deference for these intruders by getting a barrier spray that rids your yards for mosquitoes, fleas and ticks.
When you come in from the outdoors, always do a thorough check on yourself, your family and your pets. When doing a tick check, remember that ticks liked places that are warm, so make sure you check the back of your armpits, scalp, back of the neck and behind the ears.
But what if I do get a tick bite?
If you do find a tick on you or your family, there’s no need to panic! The key is to remove the tick as soon as possible. There are several tick removal devices on the market, but fine-tipped tweezers also work great. Follow the below steps on removing a tick:
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this does happen, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to do so, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
- Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.
Don’t be ticked off this summer
Let Mosquito Joe be another line of defense against tick-borne illnesses by applying a barrier treatment to your property. A trained and certified technician will treat your yard with an effective solution that eliminates mosquitoes, ticks and fleas for 21 days. As an alternative to our longer-lasting synthetic treatment, our all-natural solution repels mosquitoes immediately. This less-adhesive yet effective option requires treatment on a 14-day cycle.
If you’re still not sure if Mosquito Joe is right for you, give your local MoJo a call or request a free quote online. We are dedicated to making outside fun again for you and your family and our job is not done until you are happy!