Ticks are small bloodsucking parasites, and there are species that can transmit diseases to animals and people. Some of the most common diseases ticks can cause in humans or animals are Lymes disease, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, and Rock Mountain Spotted Fever. Ticks are known to be more prevalent during the warmer months, although they can be spotted at anytime during the year.
The most common ticks in the United States are the Black Legged ticks (which can carry the organisms known to cause Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, and Powassan disease), Lone Star ticks (which can carry the organisms that cause Ehrlichiosis, Tularemia and the Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness), and American dog ticks (which can carry the organisms which cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Tularemia).
Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals. Spending time outside walking your dog, camping, gardening, or hunting could bring you in close contact with ticks. People get ticks in their own yard or neighborhood. According to the Center of Disease Control, most kinds of species of ticks transmit diseases, are located in the East Coast of the United States. “During the warmer times of the year I see ticks way more and I become way more cautious to look out for them,” junior Molly Burns said.
There are ways to prevent the contraction of a tick bite or transmitted disease. Be sure to mention to your doctor any history of tick bites, or outdoor activities where you might have been exposed to ticks. Many people who become ill do not even remember seeing a tick. Conduct a full body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, including your own backyard.
If possible, it’s helpful to treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin, according to the CDC (Center of Disease Control). Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings. You can also buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
It’s extremely important to check your body, clothing, gear, and pets for ticks after being outdoors. Check these parts of your body and your child’s body where ticks are most commonly found: Under the arms, in and around the ears, inside belly button, back of the knees, in and around the hair, between the legs, and around the waist. “I always get scared during the summer because I feel like ticks are everywhere,” freshman Jenna Siman said.
Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing as well. Any ticks that are found should be removed as soon as possible. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks.