In the early 1970s, something occurred in Connecticut that would forever change how we look at ticks. Children and adults in Lyme, Connecticut began to display symptoms of an unknown and debilitating illness. At the time, this illness had no name but, at the end of the 70s, researchers started to catalog the symptoms and Lyme disease took its place as one of the most dangerous pest-borne diseases in the United State, with the potential to cause lifelong health complication. But, long before Lyme disease was a thing, ticks have been a threat to our health.
Living in Massachusetts, Lyme disease is a real and present threat but it isn't the only tick-borne illness that can threaten our health. Not by a long shot. The CDC has tracked a long list of human pathogens. Here are just a few of them:
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Symptoms of this bacterial infection can range from chills, muscles aches, severe headaches, nausea, and vomiting to internal damage of the kidneys, heart and other organs. If left untreated, this illness has resulted in as high as an 80 percent death rate. This is definitely an illness to be aware of.
- Ehrlichiosis. This is another bacterial infection that can lead to kidney, respiratory and heart failure. Some cases have resulted in seizures, coma and also death. Early onset symptoms can be mistaken for the flu or the common cold.
- Anaplasmosis. As with Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis, this illness begins with flu-like symptoms and can become a threat to internal organs and lead to death. But it is rare. Usually, severe illness occurs when there are other medical conditions present.
- Tularemia. This is an infectious disease that usually attacks the skin, eyes, lymph nodes and the lungs of an individual. Skin rashes and ulcers, along with flu-like symptoms, make this an unpleasant illness. If you've been bitten by a tick and you see a rash or skin ulcers developing, experts suggest seeing a doctor as soon as possible.
- Lyme disease. This bacterial infection is associated with a bullseye rash but this rash does not always appear. Early symptoms resemble the flu. If left untreated, Lyme can become chronic. This can result in neurological problems, joint pain, eye inflammation, swelling of internal organs, heart problems, chronic fatigue and more.
We could go on and on, but the goal of this article is not to scare you. It is to instill in you a healthy respect for the threat ticks can pose. Along with the short list of pathogens listed above, ticks are linked to babesiosis, Colorado tick fever, heartland virus, rickettsiosis, TBRF, STARI, Powassan disease, Bourbon virus and many more. Each of these have their own list of symptoms and risk factors. This is why it is so important that we take steps to prevent tick bites and consider investing in tick reduction for our yards.
- Avoid going into wooded areas and into tall grass where ticks are present. If you must go into these areas, wear insect repellent on your feet and legs to prevent ticks from crawling up.
- Do a check for ticks when you return home. Catching and removing ticks early can prevent illness.
Make sure your pets have veterinarian-prescribed tick products applied.
- If you have a dog, consider creating an outdoor play area if you don't already have one. This will keep your dog(s) from exploring areas around your home where ticks wait for a host and will also work to prevent wildlife from coming into that area to drop ticks for your pet to pick up.
- Wildlife bring ticks into your yard. Therefore, everything you do to prevent or deter animals from coming into your yard can reduce tick populations. One important wildlife control tip is to make sure all exterior trash is in sealed receptacles.
At Big Blue Bug Solutions, we combine tick control with mosquito control for the highest level of protection from pest-borne diseases. These are seasonal treatments that target key areas around your home to reduce mosquito populations by as much as 90% and tick populations to near zero when coupled with a rodent monitoring and control service. There is no better way to safeguard your health and the health of everyone living in your home (pets included).
Pest-borne pathogens are serious business. No Massachusetts or Connecticut home should be without this essential pest control service. Get your residential service in place today.