Have you wondered if it is safe to let your kids run around in the backyard or if it is time to start wearing protective clothing when you take a trip in the woods?
As stories of tick-related disease increase, it is easy to get spooked. Here is a list of the four ticks you have to watch out for in Pennsylvania, and the honest truth about tick prevention.
Blacklegged Tick (ixodes scapularis)
This tick is a vector for Lyme disease, a potentially serious disease that can cause nervous system and heart issues for years. They are also a known carrier of human babesiosis, a febrile disease that is normally mild, but can be serious for people with a compromised immune system.
American Dog Tick (dermacentor variabilis)
This tick is a major carrier of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which is less common than Lyme disease, but potentially more serious. They can also transmit tularemia and cause tick paralysis.
Lone Star Tick (amblyomma americanum)
This tick is a known carrier of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia. It can also cause tick paralysis in humans and dogs. Though it is not known to be a vector for Lyme disease, there are some anecdotal accounts of erythema migrans developing at the site of attachment.
Groundhog tick (ixodes cookei)
This tick is host-specific. It prefers groundhogs. But it can get on humans.
The Good News
Now that you’ve heard all the spooky facts, here are some facts that will ease your fears.
- It takes 24-48 hours for Lyme disease to move from a tick into your body. That means you have some time to find that tick and get it off before the disease transfers.
- Ticks can cause paralysis, but usually only in children. If you don’t have children, you have less to worry about.
- In Pennsylvania, Lone Star ticks are only known to transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
- Not all ticks carry disease.
- The groundhog tick is an unlikely vector for Lyme disease and not a known vector for any other virus that spreads to humans from animals.
- If you have regular tick treatments for your yard from the experts here at Moyer, you have a much smaller chance of being bitten by a tick.
Are tick diseases bad? They can be. But like anything dangerous, you can’t live in fear. Make sure to get routine tick treatments for your yard, tuck your pants in your socks if you’re going to be walking in tall grass, and do regular checks for ticks, especially on your children. If you take these simple precautions, you can significantly reduce the chance of tick-borne disease affecting your Pennsylvanian family.