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How much to worry about ticks in the summer of 2021?

If you spent most of your time playing on the grass as a child. Your parents also have a good chance of telling you to check yourself for ticks. Small insects are always common, but in many places this year is expected to be particularly bad for them. throughout the United States Small insect pests can rise to an unprecedented increase. Experts predict It will penetrate into the skin around the ankle. and riding pets

But how worried should you be about these blood-sucking parasites? We asked the experts to tell you everything you need to know about this year’s tick season.

Ticks seem to be everywhere now! Is the tick situation really worse?

Depending on where you live, in many places the threshold will increase—but they may be more stable elsewhere, says Sam Telford, professor of infectious disease and global health at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. “This is a question based on Local Telford, which has been collecting tick samples from some of the same sites in Massachusetts and Rhode Island for 35 years,” said he. have More ticks were found in some areas. For example, he said Nantucket off the Massachusetts coast was the worst he had seen in 10 years in terms of fertility index. (The number of ticks he found per minute he spent at each location), but for other locations, he said the numbers were more normal, such as in some parts of Martha’s Vineyard.

Are ticks generally getting worse every year?

Some experts think so, says Howard Russell, an entomologist at Michigan State University. “I think there’s a good chance that will be the case. He said at least in southern Michigan. as well as other areas Ticks are becoming more prevalent every year. And there is no reason to think that the trend will reverse itself anytime soon.

But not everyone agrees. “I don’t see any real evidence that ticks are increasing exponentially,” Telford said. That doesn’t mean you can imagine things. If you spend more time removing ticks from your body than ever before. He said that people who experience an increase in ticks on their own may have a greater connection to the tick’s natural habitat than the increased tick population. New habitat developments, for example, expose people to tick populations that live in formerly forested or undeveloped areas.

Are tick populations related to climate change?

To some extent, one possible cause is the trend toward colder winters, says Danilo Del Campo, a dermatologist at the Chicago Skin Clinic in Illinois. (Although all doctors can recognize and treat patients with tick bites and tick-borne diseases, Warming climates could hamper populations of small rodents, such as mice and rats, that ticks use as breeding grounds. especially the deer tick, which is a carrier of Lyme disease. Thrives in warmer temperatures Warmer climates due to climate change can increase the number of ticks.

But again, it can be hard to say. Michigan’s upper western peninsula has very cold winters. But Russell said the area had a much longer tick population than the lower peninsula, which had mild winters. But there wasn’t a huge population of ticks until about 10 years ago. What determines tick abundance?” Telford said, so climate change could influence tick populations. But there are many factors involved.

OK, but I still have a lot of ticks… should I be worried?

You should always be aware of the dangers of tick-borne diseases. Most ticks can transmit disease, Telford said, although that doesn’t mean any ticks need to be infected. Or even the infection will spread that infection. Although most ticks have a very wide range. But various tick-borne diseases It is more common in some states. Lyme disease is most common in the United States. Although it is a concern wherever deer ticks live. Most cases are found in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, as well as the two northern states. Lyme disease is transmitted by the black-legged tick. Also called deer tick. which can spread other diseases Rarely, Lyme disease can cause headaches and cold symptoms. This can cause joint pain. And in some cases, it can lead to serious and chronic health problems if not treated properly. Although most people have fully recovered, Telford said, American dog ticks can transmit a disease known as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, although this is not uncommon. “You should see your doctor if you have a fever of unknown cause,” Telford says. Another tick is called the lone star tick. May cause some people to have an allergic reaction to red meat.


Like any other disease spread by ticks. not considered normal (Although it’s hard to say for sure. Because the association between tick bites and allergies is a relatively new and potentially unreported finding), and some people eventually recover from the disease, Russell said. in most of the eastern United States But it’s most common in the southeastern states. And many people with this allergy also live in these areas.

Well, what should I do to protect myself?

There are many things you can do. To begin with, be careful if you are in an area prone to ticks. “If something hits your ankles, like bushes, grass, bushes, that’s something to be aware of,” Del Campo said. He recommends wearing long pants and long sleeves, especially if you’re gardening. Wearing light-colored clothing can also help you see ticks better. “If you’re alone and don’t care You can put socks in your pants,” he said. “It’s cool not to be cold.”

Okay, I’m less interested in being cool than not hitting me, I deserve it. TickSuit?

Del Campo says wearing a TickSuit that covers most of your body should be effective.

In addition to long clothes What is the proper protection? And if you really don’t want to wear long sleeves, what should you do?

One of the easiest things you can do is use an insect repellent. Del Campo recommends 20 to 30 percent DEET, the active ingredient in many insect repellent sprays. Telford says clothing that uses an insect repellent called permethrin. It will give you the “best value” you can buy preservatives. But he said it’s also easy to buy reconditioned clothing, such as socks.

Del Campo also advises his patients to find a “buddy” who is willing to test them for ticks. Whether it’s a partner, sibling, or friend you’ve been out with. He said it might be helpful to check each other quickly after the hike. even before getting into the car and parting ways after you get home Bathing can help get rid of ticks that are not yet attached to you. It will also help you examine yourself more closely. Telford recommends bathing as soon as possible after being in a tick-infested area. to keep it from sticking to you.

Okay, what about pets? Do I need to check my dog ​​for ticks? Is my dog ​​not taking enough tick medication?

Yes, if your dog is on tick-repelling medication. Ticks can die and come off—but only If a tick really bit your dog Ticks can stay in their fur for a while without biting. still alive and enter your house This means that it can eventually come out of the fur and stick to you. “My wife and I call our dogs experts in tick collection and migration,” Russell said.

Even if the tick bites your dog But there is no guarantee that the drug will work in all cases. “Every dog ​​is an individual. Like all human beings are individual. and performance may vary,” Telford said. So for both you and your dog. You should keep checking them.

I found a tick in myself What should I do?

Don’t panic if it doesn’t attach the part of its mouth to the skin. You can brush it off (outside) and not worry about it. A tick must bite you to become infected.

if it have Self-adhesive, you can use tweezers to remove it. “Hold it as close to the skin as you can and pull it off tight,” Russell says. Emphasize firmness—you want to avoid leaving parts of the tick embedded in the skin. You can dispose of it in a sealed bag. Wrap it with masking tape, apply rubbing alcohol, or flush it down the toilet. Don’t just smash it with your finger. You can also put it in a Ziploc bag or in alcohol and take it to your doctor if you need help identifying it. Although there are companies That you can send ticks for testing for disease, Telford says, this isn’t necessary or generally recommended. This is because even diseased ticks may not transmit the disease.

If you live in an area where Lyme disease is prevalent and the tick has been infested for three or more days. Check with your doctor. Usually, you can tell that it’s been a while if the blood-stained tick is quite large. Or have you been in a high-risk area for a very long time? Your doctor may prescribe one antibiotic called doxycycline for you. Especially if the tick is a tick from a deer. This reduces the risk of Lyme disease by 85%. Some doctors will wait to see if you have symptoms. Especially if you don’t live in a high-risk area. People bitten by ticks that carry Lyme disease often develop a characteristic rash around the bite that looks like a bison. If this happens or who has a fever of unknown cause or other symptoms immediately after being bitten Doctors can prescribe antibiotics, which are very effective in treating Lyme disease.

I have one more concern… I’ve heard that some ticks are so tiny that you can’t even see them.

Almost all ticks in their larval or larval stage are the size of a poppy seed. So it is true that they are very easy to miss. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention demonstrated this by placing a small picture (Of the ticks amongst poppies on a lemon poppyseed muffin in a 2018 tweet, much to the dismay of muffin lovers), female ticks may be more likely to transmit Lyme disease. June That’s why Lyme disease rates tend to be at their highest during June and July, Telford said, who said they couldn’t see for sure. “You just have to know what to look for,” Telford said.

All of this sounds terrifying.

It’s good to realize But don’t stress about it. “Do whatever you can when you are in certain areas. and take care of your skin and other important people where you are,” Del Campo says, “but other than that, live your life.” As long as you’re wearing insect repellent. use caution and be cautious enough You don’t need to worry He added that if you have any concerns You can talk to your primary care physician or dermatologist.

Telford agrees: “People shouldn’t be afraid of ticks. and should go out to experience nature.”

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