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Tick Talk

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Tick Talk

Ticks are parasites that feed on the blood of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians and are capable of transmitting disease. Due to mild winters across the United States, tick populations are booming and appearing earlier than previous years. Learn more about ticks and how to protect yourself from their bites.

Tick Facts:

-The adult life cycle is between 10 and 40 days

-Female ticks can lay between 300-800 eggs during their life

-There are more than 850 species of ticks, and 100 species are capable of transmitting diseases

-Ticks can range in size from a match tip to a penny

-Adult ticks have 8 legs

-As many as 50% of feeding ticks are found in the groin or butt area

Ticks Transmit Diseases

Ticks can transmit diseases from humans and pets. It takes approximately 48-72 hours of attachment before disease is transmitted.

-Lyme Disease

- 200,000 infections each year

- <1% fatalities

- Caused by deer ticks and Western black-legged ticks

- Symptoms include: Rash, fever, headache, fatigue, joint and muscle aches


- .7 infections each year

- 1.8% fatalities

- Caused by Lone Star tick, deer tick and dog tick

- Symptoms include: Fever, headache, chills, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and rash

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

- 250-1,200 infections each year

- 30% fatalities

- Caused by Lone Star tick, dog tick and wood tick

- Symptoms include: Fever, polka-dot rash, headache, nausea and vomit, muscle pain and abdominal pain

Mild Winter Means More Ticks in Parts of the U.S.

-Tick season is starting early in the Midwest and Northeast United States due to warmer temperatures

-2010-11: Tick-related illnesses nearly triple in Arkansas. Experts expect to see those numbers rise in 2012

-2011-12: A Massachusetts vet centre performed 511 tick-borne illness tests in the first 3 months of 2011, 1,445 tests in the same period in 2012

How To Remove a Tick

Do not use petroleum jelly, matches, or alcohol!

1. Get a pair of sanitized, fine-tipped tweezers

2. Position the tweezers on either side of the tick, as close to the skin as possible

3. Grasp onto the tick and pull upwards at a steady pace

4. Do not grasp the tick hard enough to burst it - this increases chance of disease

5. Clean the bite area and your hands with soap and water or rubbing alcohol

Preventing Tick Bites

-Check your body for ticks every day. Ticks commonly latch onto: Waistbands, underarms and the back of knees

-Wear long sleeves and pants; tuck pant legs into socks for extra protection

-Use tick repellents that contain 20% or more DEET on exposed skin

-Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors to wash off or find ticks

-Avoid forested areas and tall grass

-Examine gear and pets before going inside

-Tumble clothing in a dryer on high heat to kill remaining ticks

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