It’s bad enough that you have to deal with pesky pests at home like cockroaches, rats, and bed bugs. Then, there are ticks.
What are ticks?
Ticks are small insects belonging to the arachnids classification that feed on human or animal blood. Feeding on blood helps to complete their life cycle. According to fossil studies, ticks have possibly been around for over ninety million years and have evolved to different types of tick species globally.
Currently, there are about 800 types of ticks living around the world.
Their life cycle basically involves from the egg to the larvae then the nymph and later develop to adult ticks. Not only do adult ticks need blood, but so do their larvae and nymphs. Ticks are the only living insect that do not fly, drop or jump. They usually just crawl towards their host and reach out with their legs.
Most tick species generally attach themselves and feed on the blood of several animals, humans included. Female adult ticks are the ones known to latch on the longest and hardest while males are hold on much softer. This is because male ticks would usually die after mating. Most tick bites are usually harmless, but some species can spread diseases through their bite. Once a tick feeds on their host for days and becomes thick with blood, that’s when transmission of diseases usually happens. When a tick bites, the reactions felt by the host would usually be intense itch and pain.
Ticks are notorious for passing various pathogenic diseases to humans and animals. They normally thrive outdoors especially in tall grasses, bushes and stone crevices. These ticks are seen mostly in the United States. One 5-year old from Mississippi was reported to have been bitten by a tick and suffered with tick paralysis. Her body was succumbed to temporary paralysis due to the toxic saliva in the tick. A person who is constantly doing outdoor activities like hiking can acquire ticks. Pets playing outdoors can also bring ticks and move to humans when they are touched or held.
Ticks are usually at their peak during the summer months of April until September.
Where do ticks like to bite?
Ticks usually inhabit in obscure, warm and moist areas of the body. As soon as a tick latches on to their host body, they are likely to move to the groin, armpits or hair. Then, when they have found the perfect spot, that’s where they begin to draw blood by biting into the skin.
Ticks would usually continue to cling on to the body for 10 days. Once the tick is full of blood, it would then detach itself and drop off.
It is also reported that children are more likely to be bitten by ticks then adults.
What are the symptoms of a tick bite?
Tick bites would usually go undetected and often painless. However, as the bite burrows, it will develop into intense itching, burning red spots on the skin.
For some individuals, the saliva that the tick secretes would also develop into symptoms of allergic reactions. These include:
- Swelling of affected area
- Rashes around the bite area
- Numbness in the extremities
- Temporary paralysis in some body parts
There are people who usually don’t realize that they are bitten by ticks. However, for people who are extremely affected by the tick bite would later on develop other symptoms like:
What are the diseases that ticks carry?
Similar to mosquitoes or fleas, some species of ticks carry pathogens with different diseases when they bite their human or animal host. Some of the common diseases that ticks transmit include:
- Lyme Disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
- Colorado Tick Fever
- Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI)
- Tick-borne relapsing fever
- Heartland virus
How to administer the proper removal of ticks
When a tick attaches on to your body, it is important to remove them properly. Make sure that the tick does not get squished as its regurgitation can also transfer the pathogens through your fingers. Follow these steps for the proper method in removing ticks from the body:
- Make sure before removing ticks you are wearing hand gloves to avoid spreading pathogens to your hands from the tick.
- Use a pair of tweezers and gently grab the tick where its closest to your skin
- Do a gentle upward motion that does not crush the tick.
- As soon as the tick is removed, douse them in alcohol or flush them down the toilet or sink. For the tick that caused the infections from its bite, consider storing it in a closed jar. Show the tick to the doctor if the person who was bitten falls ill from the bite.
- Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and sterilize objects used to remove the tick.
5 natural home treatments you can use after a tick bites
Some ticks may not cause serious infections after biting its host. It is still important to check your body parts or your pets for ticks especially if you have been outdoors. If you suspect to have been bitten by a tick, follow the above method for removing and use these natural remedies to treat a tick bite. This is important to reduce chances of getting diseases.
- Start by washing the affected area with anti-bacterial soap with water
2. Avoid using flammable items to try and remove the tick from your body
3. You can use lotion that contains calamine to lessen the pain and relieve itch and inflammation caused by the bite
4. If you do not have creams or lotions, another effective remedy is to cut a small piece of onion and rub on the bite area. The antioxidant properties of onion can help speed up healing of the infected area.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar is also another powerful age-old remedy to treat tick bites. Simply dilute the vinegar with water and apply it with a cloth on the infected area. This would help reduce the itchiness and redness which causes skin irritation.
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