6:45 AM PDT, May 31, 2021
Tick populations are growing at an alarming rate this year with an early spring and a large amount of rainfall over the last few months.
The weather is only expected to get warmer and more humid which researchers say will only drive the growth of tick populations.
Ticks can also carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, southern tick-associated rash illness, tick-borne relapsing fever and tularemia.
Lyme disease can be transmitted by black-legged ticks, more colloquially known as deer ticks, in the Northeast and Midwest. The western black-legged tick transmits the disease on the Pacific Coast, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
On average, there are less than 5,000 lyme disease cases per year in the United States, WILX reported. Of those cases, kids account for about 6%, Bobby Goeman, a pediatric nurse practitioner told the outlet.
A tick must be on you for 36 hours for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease to travel from the tick’s gut to its salivary glands and into the host, the National Institute of Health said.
Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas and can even live on animals. The CDC advises individuals to avoid woody and brushy areas with high grass and to walk in the center of trails.
As a best practice, the CDC says to check your clothing and your body for ticks after time spent outdoors. Also be sure to check your children and pets for any ticks.
To prevent any exposure wear clothing that covers your arms and legs and tuck your pants into your socks. Light-colored clothing is also helpful to be able to spot any ticks that may have stuck onto you.
Ultimately, the best practice is to remain calm if you find a tick on you.
“I think the most important thing for folks to know is that if they find the tick on themselves, don’t panic,” Lyme Disease expert, Dr. Maliha Ilias said.
Disease researcher Dr. Jose Ribeiro also urges that, “The most important thing is just to use appropriate forceps such as tweezers. Grab the whole tick and pull it out.”