Can Ticks Make You Ill?

Do you enjoy being in the great outdoors? We definitely do! Whether you have a passion for camping, canoeing, hiking, or simply going for a relaxing walk, there’s nothing quite like appreciating the beauty of nature.

However, it can be somewhat risky to venture into the great outdoors. If you’re hiking, for instance, you need to be vigilant for snakes. Some of the most dangerous creatures, though, are also some of the tiniest. What are we referring to? Ticks!

Have you ever been playing outside and later discovered a tick attached to your skin? Yuck! Nobody likes it when these little parasites bite and burrow under your skin. Not only can it be painful, but it can also make you unwell.

Ticks belong to the arachnid family of insects, which means they’re related to spiders and scorpions. There are numerous types of ticks, and they can be found all over the world.

Two of the most common ticks in North America are the deer tick and the dog tick. Like all other ticks, these ticks latch onto the skin of humans and animals. Why? So they can feed on your blood!

It’s true. Ticks are similar to mythical vampires. However, ticks are much smaller than vampires. Some ticks appear to be tiny specks of dirt that are no bigger than the head of a pin.

As if sucking your blood wasn’t enough, ticks can also carry diseases. For instance, some ticks are carriers of spirochetes, a type of bacteria. Ticks can transmit these bacteria to humans, leading to an infection called Lyme disease. Another common disease that many ticks carry is known as Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

If you discover a tick on your body, inform an adult and seek help in removing it. Over the next few days, be on the lookout for symptoms that may indicate a tick-borne illness. Common symptoms include flu-like symptoms (such as tiredness and body aches), fever, headache, stomach pain, or a red rash resembling a bullseye.

If you suspect a tick-borne illness, it’s important to see a doctor immediately. Most tick-borne illnesses can be easily treated with antibiotics and have no long-term effects.

Give it a Try

Are you ready to delve deeper into the world of ticks? Make sure to explore the following activities with a friend or family member:

Ticks: What You Need to Know

If you’re planning on spending time outdoors, it’s important to be familiar with ticks and how to avoid them. The Field Guide to Ticks from the University of Rhode Island provides a comprehensive resource for identifying ticks in your region.

In areas where ticks are prevalent, there are precautions you can take to minimize your exposure. Stick to cleared paths and avoid brushing against grass and leafy branches, as ticks are commonly found in wooded and grassy areas. When venturing into these environments, it’s crucial to cover up by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, long socks, and a hat. Remember, even with protective clothing, there’s still a chance that a tick may attach itself to you. After outdoor activities, it’s recommended to take a bath or shower and thoroughly check for ticks. Enlist the help of an adult to examine hard-to-see areas, including your hair, as ticks often seek refuge there. If you discover a tick, remove it carefully with tweezers, grasping it by the head and pulling it out slowly but firmly. In areas where Lyme disease is prevalent, consider saving the tick for testing by a physician.

Interested in expanding your knowledge? Explore other bloodsucking insects besides ticks. Discover more about mosquitoes and other creatures that indulge in feeding on your blood. Familiarize yourself with preventative measures to safeguard against these insects.

Recommended Sources

  • http://kidshealth.org/kid/watch/out/tick.html (accessed 29 June, 2023)
  • http://kidshealth.org/kid/ill_injure/sick/lyme_disease.html (accessed 29 June, 2023)
  • http://www.cdc.gov/rmsf/ (accessed 29 June, 2023)

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