Chantel Brink
Chantel Brink
June 17, 2024 ·  3 min read

Summer is Here… So are the Ticks

The latest report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Experts, reveals there has been an increase in vector-borne diseases such as tick bites in the United States.

According to the report, in 2004 there were approximately 27,388 cases of insect bites reported. Now, flash forward to 20 years and the number of cases has gone up by 96,075.

So, what exactly are tick-bites? Ticks are little insects that live outdoors in grass, shrubs, and trees. Most tick-bites are considered harmless and cause no adverse symptoms. However, infected tick bites can cause allergic reactions and in some cases diseases such as Lyme disease, rocky mountain spotted fever, heartland virus and others.

The National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System analyzed 16 different diseases. In total, vector-borne diseases made up 642,602 cases. Tick-borne diseases which constituted 75% of all vector reported diseases increased to a whopping 48,610 in 2016. In 2004, there were just 22,527 cases.

Tick-borne diseases usually recur in outdoor environments such as the woods, bushes, high grass or areas that have leave litters. However, they can also be found in urban areas like parks and backyards. You can also contract tick-related diseases if you come in contact with animals like birds and mice who are likely to carry it.

A photo of a tick bloated with human blood.
Summer brings not only warm weather but a host of other problems such as the explosion of ticks.

It’s important to really be wary of tick bites because sometimes it can lead to some serious and deadly diseases. These include:

  1. Lyme disease– Created through bacterium known as Borrelia burgdorferi. The main perpetrator of this illness is infected black-legged ticks. Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and skin rash known as erythema migrans.
  2. Colorado tick fever(CTF)- Usually occurs between areas of the Western United States and Western Canada. You can also catch this virus if you happen to be 4,000-10,000 feet above sea level. The most common symptoms of CTF include fever, chills, headache, body aches, tiredness.
  3. Bourbon virus– Combination of different viruses known as thogotoviruses. People can get this type of virus through normal tick and insect bites. Symptoms include fever, tiredness, rash, headache, body aches, nausea, and vomiting.
  4. Rocky Mountain Spotted fever(RMSF)– Signs include fever, headache, and rash.
  5. Heartland virus– Found in areas between Mid-western and southern United States. Normal symptoms include fever, headaches, fatigue, muscle aches and diarrhea.
Doctor examining a woman.
Ticks transmit several diseases that can be debilitating. Which is why it is essential that in case of a tick bite, it is essential to seek medical help.

Tick- treatments: Prevention is always better than cure

Though tick bites have serious consequences, they can be easily prevented. Here are some possible precautions you can take:

Proper clothing– One of the easiest things one can do avoid becoming potential tick targets is wear appropriate attire which in this case is long-sleeved clothing. Doing so covers and automatically shuts down potential areas where ticks might try to bite you.

Tick repellant sprays– Tick season tends to be in the summertime so it is really understandable if you choose not to wear clothing with extra layers. If you decide against that option, then you might want to consider using insect repellant sprays. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, people need to buy sprays that contain picaridin or lemon eucalyptus in them.

Essential Oils– There are some essential oils such as Lavender, Eucalyptus, and Lemon that can be applied to exposed body parts.

Tick bites are not something to be taken lightly so if you find that you have one visit a doctor immediately.