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Beware the Attack of the Ticks: Some Can Give You Lyme Disease, Says AMAC

WASHINGTON, DC, Aug 3 – It’s the height of summer, a time of year when we are most vulnerable to insect-borne diseases.  It’s a threat that will still be with us well into the Fall.  Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control [CDC], warns that “a growing list of diseases caused by the bite of an infected mosquito, tick, or flea have confronted the U.S. in recent years, making a lot of people sick.”

Tick attacks can be particularly nasty for seniors, says Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.  “They can cause several different illnesses, most notably Lyme disease.  All of these sicknesses can have harsh symptoms but they rarely result in death, although the elderly have weaker immune systems and are therefore more susceptible.”

According to the CDC the symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, rash, facial paralysis and arthritis and can last up to six months.  The Interim Healthcare Web site notes that these ”symptoms can be harsh but slow to set in – a person could be infected with Lyme disease for a full month with nothing but a small rash at the bite location before more serious symptoms set in.  Later stage Lyme can include increased rashes, partial facial paralysis, arthritis and joint pain, irregular heartbeat, brain and spinal cord swelling, nerve pain and short-term memory loss.”

 Not all ticks carry Lyme disease.  Weber says, “it is the blacklegged tick and the western blacklegged tick that are the culprits.  They are not common in all 50 states.  In fact, up until about 20 years, they were common only in the Northeastern United States.  But two decades later they can be found in 1,531 counties spread across 43 states.  Rebecca Eisen, a research biologist at the CDC, tells us that blacklegged ticks inhabit the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and north-central regions of the United States, and the western blacklegged tick are found along the Pacific Coast.”

Weber says he did some research and found that you can tell the difference between the blacklegged and the common dog tick [which is not known to spread disease] by the physical differences between the two.  The blacklegged tick is much smaller than the dog tick and the dog tick has white markings on its back.

The AMAC chief also suggests that you do not panic if you find a tick has attached itself to your body; you’ve got up to 24 hours before an infection can set in.  So you have time to get help in removing it at an ER, for example.  “Whatever you do, don’t try to squeeze it out or use a lit cigarette to coax it out.  If you can’t get medical help, use tweezers to grip it as close as possible to its mouth to remove.”

And, now it is reported that a new species of tick, the “Longhorned Tick” has recently been identified in New York, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Arkansas.  According to one report, “while they have been known to transmit disease to humans in other parts of the world, health officials say more research is needed to determine whether that’s possible in the U.S.”

To prevent tick bites, the CDC suggests that you:

  • Treat clothing and gearwith products containing 0.5% permethrin.  Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings.  And that you,
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellentscontaining DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone.  EPA’s helpful search tool can help you find the product that best suits your needs.  Always follow product instructions.

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Read more articles by John Grimaldi

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Kim

These deer ticks, as we used to call them, are so tiny that they easily escape detection. They can start out the size of a poppy seed, and mature to the size of a sesame seed—if that! For many years, I worked outdoors and often came home with one or two of them attached. I knew I had to do a thorough inspection, or else I could end up like a couple of people I knew, with nearly debilitating arthritis. Contrary to what the article said, their conditions did not improve—ever. In fact, there was an artist living in Maine who died several years ago from complications of a deer tick bite. Her name was Lyn Snow, and the link I was going to include went nowhere. But, if I remember correctly, the disease was something other than Lyme. It’s fine to wear appropriate clothing and to use a spray,… Read more »

joanne

Why didn’t you include pictures, especially a SIZE COMPARISON, in the article? It’s surprising how small the problem tick is.

Ceceal

If CDC could come up with a vaccine for Zika why not a vaccine for the multiple tick infections?

Bobeanie

Welcome to Maine! Here are your ANTIBIOTICS! I got Lyme last year- normally u take your pills and you’re fine- what they don’t tell u is it attacks the weakest part of your body- got a new hip? Better get an X-ray every year for 4 years- back surgery involving metal? Same thing. And go to a Medical Center on the east coast who knows the latest on Lyme -just FYI.

Carol Potts

I read with interest the CDC report. I was hoping by now that they had learned more. I was bitten in the 1980’s by a dog tick and within a week had flu symptoms. The doctor treated me for Rocky Mounted Spotted Fever because Lyme was an unknown in Alabama at the time. It wasn’t enough and I am now a chronic Lyme patient. I was lucky enough to find an amazing doctor who had Lyme himself and he has kept me alive. I know of man in north Alabama who died of Lyme. More than the nymph ticks are spreading Lyme disease. My husband, now deceased, had it. My daughter has it. So many people are suffering because they can’t afford the treatment. Many more are suffering because there is no acknowledgement that Lyme exists in at least 48 states. There aren’t enough doctors willing to treat Lyme.

Monty

Are you actually suggesting that one go to the ER to remove a tick?

Rik

So as the article states “the elderly have weaker immune systems and are therefore more susceptible”. … I’ve discovered PEMT Pulse Electro Magnetic Therapy which strengthens and builds your Immune System by increasing your microcirculation so much so that your body can heal itself from the 80% of all diseases that can attack your body because of poor blood circulation. Truly miraculous!!! This top of the line product is the only one that NASA has contracted with to design their internationally protected patented system into the spacesuits to protect space traveler from the effects of poor blood circulation as they travel away from the magnetism of the death’s core that drives our blood circulation that naturally weakens as we age due to poor eating habits, stress and lack of exercise. I doubt that AMAC’s censors would allow me to name the product by brand name. All I can say is… Read more »