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Beware of Ticks

Posted Apr 10 2010 10:08am

I love spring, but I hate the ticks it wakes up, ready for a warm-blooded snack. It’s the same for me this time of year. We’ll head out to the woods for a walk. I’ll feel itchy the rest of the day, swearing I feel ticks crawling on me.

You don’t have to a backwoods hiker to get ticks. My nephew contacted Lyme disease from fishing along a river bank. Ticks and their hosts are everywhere. Unless you keep your yard cordoned off from all raccoons, deer, coyotes, and other wildlife, your yard has ticks.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is carried by the deer tick. Generally, these ticks are most active the warmer times of the year up until the first hard frost in the fall. They prefer wooded areas.

In order to contact the disease, an infected deer tick must remain on your body for 48 hours. They’re easy to miss, being just the size of a pin head.

Symptoms include fatigue, headache, and that classic bulls-eye rash. My nephew had it, but not all patients do. Treatment for this bacteria is a course of antibiotics. The treatment can be rough too. One such drug is doxycycline. Side effects include dizziness and fever. Does that sound familiar?

Lyme disease can have long term effects, possibly causing nerve system damage or damage to your heart.

Ehrlichiosis

Ehrlichiosis is becoming more and more common. Symptoms are similar to Lyme disease including fever and malaise. The disease attacks your white blood cells. It’s easy to understand how serious this disease can be. Treatment is similar to Lyme disease.

Tick Borne Disease and Your Pet

Your pets are just as vulnerable to these diseases as you are. As soon as the snow cover is gone, start using a flea and tick preventive such as .

Refrain from using grocery store brands or flea collars. These are simply just not effective and may even harm your pet. Always remember to only use cat products on cats. Dog products can be lethal for your cat.

As we welcome spring, remember to take sensible precautions when outdoors. Use bug spray whenever you are out. Your good health may depend upon it.

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