You may have noticed that we had a warmer than usual winter this year. While it is nice to not have to shovel as much snow or pay through the nose for heating costs, there is actually a downside to a warm winter. As it turns out, we're not the only ones who like winter to be warm. Ticks do too. Here's what you need to know.
A warm winter means a higher tick population, but not in the way you may think. It isn't that a larger number of ticks survived the winter. It is more that the season of cold weather was shorter and ticks are going to have a longer span of time to grow their populations in spring.
Another thing a warmer winter does is provide more opportunities for humans, pets, and ticks to come together. Ticks do not hibernate. That means, when temperatures warm, they will become active. Those warm temperatures also have an effect on pet owners. When it is warm, it is much more likely that you will take your dog for a walk, which increases the likelihood that a tick bite will occur.
Here are just a few of the reasons you may not want ticks biting you or your pet:
Lyme disease. This is a disease that can have lifelong implications for dogs and humans. It is also a growing threat throughout New England.
Human Anaplasmosis. Symptoms of this disease are fever, headaches, muscle aches, chills, and shaking. More severe symptoms that can develop are: loss of appetite, abdominal pain, cough, diarrhea, and aching joints.
Babesiosis. This infection is characterized by fever, malaise, and hemolytic anemia.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever. This is a rickettsial disease that can have serious symptoms, including damage to kidneys, heart, and other internal organs.
Ehrlichiosis. This is a bacterial illness that causes flu-like symptoms.
Powassan virus. Named after the young Powassan, an Ontario boy who died from the virus, this illness can cause inflammation of the brain.
Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI). Symptoms of this disease are similar to early Lyme disease symptoms, with fatigue being the most common symptom.
Tularemia. This illness is associated with swollen lymph glands, fever, chills, headache, and exhaustion.
As you enjoy the warm weather, please take caution when bringing your pet for a walk; and be aware that some tick diseases take 12 to 24 hours to transmit from the tick to you or your pet. A close inspection can save you or your pet from contracting some of the illnesses above.
It is also important to understand that flu symptoms aren't always the flu. If you keep getting sick, ticks may be to blame.
If you let your pets run around in the yard or on your property, tick control services from a professional like Big Blue Bug Solutions can help you keep them--and your family--safe. Reach out to us and learn what measures you can take to reduce your chances of dealing with the many illnesses ticks can transmit. Ticks are a serious threat, but with Big Blue Bug Solutions, you can significantly reduce that threat.