If you have pets, you may know how disgusting ticks can be. Even treating your pets with the top brands of flea/tick control doesn’t always mean you won’t encounter these nasty blood sucking creatures. Besides being really gross, many people ask the question, can ticks really cause direct injury as a result of their bites?
Tick Prevention Protects Your Family
First and foremost, ticks might not cause an immediate injury (like a wasp sting), but can cause direct injury and health issues.
Let’s say it this way….ticks have mouth-parts that are composed of two retractable hooked appendages that pull the skin over a single fixed harpoon-like structure that, itself, anchors the tick to the skin during feeding. These mouth-parts are tiny, and enter just a fraction of a millimeter into the skin. By themselves, they rarely cause more damage than would a superficial splinter. You will not likely feel a tick walking on your skin. Furthermore, most tick bites neither are painful nor even noticeable (unless you happen to see the tick).
However, the tick produces copious saliva that it injects into the skin during feeding. This saliva contains a potent cocktail of substances that prevents blood clotting at the site and helps the tick feed. The tick’s saliva may cause diverse health effects on a person or animal. Generally, these effects are mild and are limited to local irritation and a bruise-like reaction around the bite site. With repeated exposure to tick bites, a person or pet may develop an allergic sensitivity to the saliva.
This may cause the area around the bite to itch. Although this increases the extent of annoyance, the itching may cause the host to notice the tick and remove it before the tick causes yet greater risk. The saliva from a few kinds of ticks can cause a kind of paralysis that may begin at the lower extremities and proceed to sweep towards the head during a span of hours or days. This phenomenon, termed ‘tick paralysis’ is medically important. It reverses rapidly once the tick has been located and removed. If allowed to proceed, however, tick paralysis can be fatal. Lyme disease is another concern regarding tick bites.
Proactive Tick Control Helps Reduce Risks of Ticks
Unfortunately, ticks are dangerous and can lead to significant health issues. Fortunately, taking proactive measures can help control these risks. For example, learning how to identify a tick helps ensure that you what they look like.
Ticks are black or brown and have eight legs (like spiders). But, unlike spiders, most are fairly small – some no larger than the head of a pin. To find that warm-blooded host, the tick senses breath, body odor, heat, moisture or vibrations, then uses its hooked legs to latch on. From there, it finds a spot to puncture a hole and feed, injecting an anticoagulant to clot the blood. A tick may wait several days in one spot to find a host.
Additionally, tick control involves understanding where ticks can usually be found. For instance, watch out for ticks in the following areas:
- High grasses and on logs.
- Dry and hot climates, including deserts and beaches.
- Buildings – especially brown dog ticks.
Although we generally think of ticks during the spring and summer, they may be around all year. In fact, ticks may survive in temperatures as low as 32°F. For more information on where you may encounter a higher chance you will pick up ticks around your home, here are some common ways ticks latch onto you or your family members:
- Being outdoors (by yourself or with a pet).
- In in your garden.
- Around around other animals, including squirrels and rodents.
- In overgrown, grassy areas.
- In close to any perimeter vegetation, or areas that border a forest.
- Walking along a regularly used path, such as a hiking trail.
If you are seeing ticks in or around your home, give the tick exterminators at Eliminate ‘Em a call! We have procedures that can get rid of ticks and prevent them from causing you and your pet to suffer. Don’t hesitate to call us! 1-866-802-7378.