You’ve probably heard of ticks and the dangers they can cause. Numerous tick facts can help you in understanding how to best control them and the spread of diseases associated with these tiny arachnid parasites popularly known for sucking blood from their hosts (learn more about our pest control services).
For instance, if you suffer a tick attack, you may get infected with bacterial infections such as the Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, tularemia, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. In a bid to detect and treat these bacterial infections before your health deteriorates, it is essential to watch out for fever, a stiff neck, headaches, fatigue, and joint muscles among other symptoms after suffering a tick bite.
Some of the common ways you could get a tick into your house include interacting with pets such as dogs and cats that spend a significant amount of time outdoors, and you enjoying outdoor activities especially on areas with long grasses. Regardless of how this parasite got to your home, it is important to prioritize your safety by safely removing it from its attachment and quarantining it for further tests by your veterinary officer or doctor.
Here some facts that will help you understand ticks better and their dangers:
- Not every tick bite results in an infection
- Ticks usually feed on blood they draw from their host – birds, humans, reptiles, and domestic & wild mammals.
- The infestation of ticks is more prevalent in dogs than cats.
- Ticks can appear as small dark specks on the pet's fur.
- Generally, ticks aren’t born with disease agents - they acquire these agents when they feed, passing them along on to other animals in their subsequent feedings.
- The lifecycle of a tick has four stages, namely egg, larva, nymph, and adult.
- Currently, there are close to 850 tick species, with a fraction of them capable of transmitting diseases.
- With just one tick bite, your pet can contract multiple diseases.
- The the brown dog tick and the American dog tick account for the largest share of tick disease spread among dogs.
- Removing a tick from someone’s or your pet’s skin using a bare hand increases the risks of the host getting a tick infection than if it were done using pointy tweezers. The pressure you apply when you grasp a tick using a hand encourages this parasite to empty their content into their host’s skin.
- Ticks are more related to mites, scorpions, and spiders than insects - they are arachnids.
- Most tick-borne infections happen after 24 hours of tick attachment to its host. You can, therefore, foil a majority of tick bite infections by finding a tick within 24 hours and detaching it from the skin.
- Lyme disease, which is tick-borne, is only transmittable by a deer tick, or its close relatives.
- You can only get the tick-borne disease through a tick bite. Therefore, by wearing tick repellent clothing, eliminating ticks from your backyard, controlling pests on your pets almost guarantees to keep you safe from tick-transmittable infections.
How Do Ticks Affect Humans?
Ticks can attach to your skin and start feeding on your blood. The skin where these ticks attach to, on your body, may become irritated and turn red. If a tick is attached to your pet and transmits infections, it could equally transmit these infections to you or someone they bite. It is important you realize that you don’t get these infections from your pets - both you and your pet get the infections from the tick you encounter in your outdoor activities. Tick-borne diseases that affect pets such as the Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease are very serious in human beings.
Can Ticks Live in Your House?
Not all tick species can possibly live in your house for a long time unless they’re supported by a good environment. For instance, unfed nymphal deer ticks can hardly survive in the ordinary house beyond 24 hours - they normally dry out in 8 hours when their environment has a moisture content of less than 90%. However, after becoming fully fed, they can stay in a moist environment within your house for about 2-3 days. But on average, a well-fed adult tick can live in your house for close 30 days.
Can Ticks Cause Death to Humans?
Yes, tick bites can be fatal to humans! Besides the traditional diseases like the Lyme disease, there are more severe tick-borne pathogens that are life-threatening in humans. One such pathogen is the Powassan virus. This virus has a reputation of causing inflammation of the victim’s brain, and its infection does progress quickly than that of the Lyme disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that this virus claims 10% of the lives of its victims. This disease has no vaccination or medication, and only management of the condition can ease the situation of the patient.