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Ticks are small, blood-sucking arachnids that can be found in many parts of the world, including the United States. While most tick bites are harmless, some species of ticks can transmit diseases that can be serious or even life-threatening. It’s important to know how to prevent tick bites and what to do if you are bitten.
Ticks are typically found in wooded areas or tall grass where they can easily attach themselves to passing animals or humans. They feed on blood and can stay attached to their host for several days until they are fully engorged. While feeding, ticks can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Powassan virus.
If you are spending time in areas where ticks are common, there are several steps you can take to prevent tick bites. Wear long pants and sleeves, use insect repellent, and avoid walking through tall grass or wooded areas. Check yourself and your pets for ticks after spending time outdoors. If you find a tick, remove it as soon as possible using tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pulling straight out with steady pressure.
If you are bitten by a tick, it’s important to monitor the area for any signs of infection or illness. Symptoms of tick-borne diseases can include fever, headache, fatigue, and a rash. If you develop any of these symptoms within a few weeks of being bitten, seek medical attention.
Tick-borne diseases can be serious, so it’s important to take precautions when spending time outdoors in areas where ticks are common. By wearing protective clothing, using insect repellent, and checking for ticks regularly, you can reduce your risk of tick bites and the diseases they can transmit.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Tickborne Diseases of the United States. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/tickbornediseases/index.html
Mayo Clinic. (2021). Tick bites: First aid. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-tick-bites/basics/art-20056671
World Health Organization. (2020). Tick-borne diseases. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/tick-borne-diseases