Ticks have become a year-long menace in Prince William County, VA as well as other areas of the U.S. In fact, although the official tick season is usually between April and September, some experts in Virginia are now saying that every season is tick season in Virginia.
It’s important to be aware of how ticks get on us. That way, you can appreciate the measures recommended for keeping them off you. For instance, many people assume that ticks drop out of trees in the woods and land on unsuspecting passersby, but that’s a myth. The truth is that ticks will typically get on your feet first.
Ticks can’t fly. They don’t jump, or fall on you from above. They wait.
Staked out on the very tips of leaves and blades of grass, they sit, raised on their back legs, reaching out with their hooked front limbs in a pose that’s called “questing,” and they smell you coming. Not your perfume or your stinky sneakers, the scent that ticks detect is your breath—the CO2 that you exhale—and they lean in. Read more at Crozet Gazette…
From the above, it’s pretty clear why experts recommend wearing treated clothing, tucking your pants in your socks, and wearing repellants on your lower legs when in the woods. In addition, you want to avoid walking your dog on roads whose edges are lined with thick brush. Such bushes may be infested with ticks just waiting for their next ride and meal.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is among the tick-borne diseases that we should be wary of. This disease is especially difficult to diagnose because early signs and symptoms, such as headache and fever, are not specific to the disease. And unfortunately, the disease can progress rapidly, causing serious problems that for some patients become life-threatening.
Rash is a common sign in people who are sick with RMSF. Rash usually develops 2-4 days after fever begins. The look of the rash can vary widely over the course of illness. Some rashes can look like red splotches and some look like pinpoint dots. While almost all patients with RMSF will develop a rash, it often does not appear early in illness, which can make RMSF difficult to diagnose. Read more at CDC…
A rash is the most obvious sign of RMSF, but other signs and symptoms include nausea, stomach pain, lack of appetite, vomiting, and muscle pain. Successful treatment of this and other tick-borne diseases depends highly on timing. When treated up-front, patients usually recover with no long-term effects. This is why it is advisable to visit your physician as soon as you notice any symptoms following a tick bite.
Another tick-related issue that’s becoming increasingly problematic is the Alpha-gal syndrome. This is a red meat allergy or sudden sensitivity to red meat that develops in a person following a bite from the lone star tick.
Alpha-gal syndrome is a type of food allergy to red meat. In the U.S., this immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated allergic reaction is triggered from the bite of a Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum) that transmits a carbohydrate molecule called galactose-alpha-1,2-galactose (alpha-gal) into the body. Alpha-gal is found on cells and tissues of all mammals except primate mammals (i.e. humans, chimpanzees, and monkeys) (Commins, 2019). Ticks that cause alpha-gal syndrome pick up the molecule from the blood of animals that they bite. When the tick bites a human, alpha-gal is transferred into the person’s body. Several tick bites may result in an immune system sensitivity to red meat that could progress from a mild reaction to severe and/or life-threatening anaphylaxis. Read more at Nursing Center…
This meat allergy will typically result in stomach pain, hives, and difficulty breathing about three to six hours after a person consumes any kind of mammalian meat. In addition, people that develop this allergy also need to be careful about using medications that come in gelatin capsules. That’s because a significant portion of the gelatin comes from the byproducts of pork and beef.
The best solution for guarding against ticks is to avoid them completely. One way to do this is to call us at Backyard Bug Patrol for tick control services in Triangle, VA. We’ll keep you, your loved and pets safe by preventing those pesky bugs from turning your yard into their hideout.