In Alabama we’ve experienced our fair share of tick infestations and the health concerns they cause. Like mosquitoes, ticks can transmit diseases, some of which are very serious.
Experts are anticipating the tick population could hit an all-time high this year, and the black-legged tick (a.k.a. deer tick) poses the biggest threat.
Lyme Disease is Expected to Increase
New tick-borne diseases have been discovered in recent years, and it’s now known that ticks are vectors for bacteria, parasites and viruses. Ticks transmit eight different diseases, but the one that people fear the most is Lyme disease.
The prevalence of Lyme disease has exploded in the last three decades. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) records show reports of Lyme disease are three times higher today compared to 30 years ago. Last year there were approximately 30,000 reported cases of Lyme disease. However, this doesn’t include all of the unreported cases, which could push the number well over 100,000.
Based on early estimates, health officials expect there will be a record number of cases this year in the Northeast and upper Midwest. The problem became a serious issue last year when the Hudson Valley area was hit with a surge of tick-infested rodents. Here in the Southeast, Lyme disease has been a concern for decades and this year is no different.
Here are key things you need to know about Lyme disease:
Transmitted by – Bite of infected black-legged tick
Infectious Agent – Bacteria that enters the bloodstream
Symptoms – Fever, fatigue, headache, joint pain and rashes
Treatment – Antibiotics
Long-Term Effects – Possible muscle pain, irregular heartbeat and cognitive problems
Other Diseases Transmitted by Ticks – Babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, anaplasmosis, Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness, Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever and tularemia
How to Protect Yourself From Ticks
Cover Up With Clothing
Anytime you’re working outdoors around vegetation wear long sleeves, pants, socks and closed-toe shoes.
Do a Tick Check After Being Outdoors
Ticks are as small as a sesame seed and can get in the strangest places. After being outdoors make sure to do a full-body check for ticks. They particularly like warm, moist areas. The tick will be a tiny, black speck but there could also be pain, swelling, warmth or redness around the bite site. If you do get a tick bite seek medical treatment right away.
Keep Pets Protected
Ticks can latch on to pets as well. This can lead to your pet getting a disease or an infestation inside your house. Make sure all of your pets get a monthly flea and tick treatment.
Rodent control is every bit as important as insect control when it comes to preventing ticks. If you’ve seen signs of small rodents call a pest control company right away.
Treat Your Yard
Most people aren’t infected by hiking in the woods or camping. They’re bitten right in their own back yard. The start of spring is a good time to treat for yard pests, including ticks.
If you live in Central Alabama and want to stress less about ticks give Vulcan Termite and Pest Control Inc. a call. Our expert technicians know where ticks like to hide and can create a custom pest control treatmentto keep ticks away all summer long.