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Common Illnesses from Ticks

Lyme disease rash

With all the buzz about mosquitoes, it’s easy for homeowners in the Northeast to forget about protecting themselves and their families from ticks. Ticks carry a wide range of diseases, and tick populations and tick-borne illnesses are anticipated to be particularly high this summer. In fact, here in New York and surrounding states in the Northeast, we’re at a higher risk of certain tick-borne illnesses than many of our West Coast friends and family.

The most common tick-borne diseases that occur on Long Island are:

  • Lyme disease
  • Powassan virus (POW)

How do you get lyme disease?

This is the most common – and the most well-known – disease transmitted by ticks. Carried by infected black-legged ticks, most cases of Lyme disease occur in the Northeastern states and around the Great Lakes. These black-legged ticks contract the disease by feeding on infected deer, mice, and chipmunks.

What are the symptoms of lyme disease?

Symptoms include a bullseye-shaped rash around the bite, joint pain, headache, and fever. Ticks typically don’t begin transmitting Lyme disease until they’ve been attached between 24 and 48 hours, so if you spot one, act fast! If Lyme disease is not treated quickly, it can become a chronic condition.

What is Powassan virus (POW)?

Powassan virus is a rare disease that has recently appeared in the United States. Also known as the POW virus, this illness can infect the central nervous system and cause encephalitis and meningitis.

How is Powassan virus transmitted?

Like Lyme Disease, Powassan virus is transmitted by black-legged ticks. Symptoms include headache and fever, partial paralysis, and nausea, and nearly 50% of cases result in permanent damage or death. While there have been fewer than 100 cases of this virus in the United States, it’s anticipated that there will be an increase as tick populations boom and expand their hunting grounds throughout the country.

How do you prevent tick bites?

Here at A&C Pest Management, we enjoy being able to share tips to prevent tick bites and keep tick populations away from your home.  Here are a few things you can do to protect your family this summer:

  • Cover up: If the weather isn’t steamy, long sleeves and pants can keep you safe in heavily wooded areas. If you’re camping, hiking, or biking this summer, it may be worth investing in Permethrin-treated clothing. This repellent deters ticks and kills them upon contact.
  • Check yourself: Any time you enjoy mother nature, you’re at risk of ticks. Ticks hide in low shrubs and grasses, where they engage in “questing.” This behavior involves standing on their hind legs and reaching out until they find a human or animal to grab onto and feed on. Once they’re on your body, they’ll look for damp, warm places with thin skin - so pay close attention to areas where waistbands, straps, and tight articles of clothing lay on your skin.
  • Remove ticks quickly: If you notice a tick that has latched on, remove it slowly and gently with tweezers. Grab as close to the head as possible, extracting it carefully.

If you’re looking for complete protection against tick bites, it’s time to call on the pest professionals at A&C Pest Management. See if we service your neighborhood today!

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