Specific bacteria found in black-legged deer ticks cause Lyme disease in the United States. These bacteria, Borrelia afzelii, Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia garinii and Borrelia mayonii, initially cause a rash followed by a severe inflammatory response in the body and other symptoms that often lead to permanent physical damage and disability.
Lyme Disease Symptoms
A person who has been bitten by a tick that carries a type of Borrelia bacteria might only experience flu-like symptoms initially, such as headache, fatigue, aches, fever and chills. After days, weeks, months and sometimes years, they might experience excruciating joint pain caused by the inflammation and nervous system issues like hearing loss, facial numbness and partial or full body paralysis. Some sufferers even experience eye, heart, cognitive and emotional problems.
Since these symptoms mimic symptoms from a lot of other health conditions, misdiagnoses often occur and result in the affected person going through expensive diagnostic studies. After a correct diagnosis, the person must take antibiotics for anywhere between one to four weeks to kill the bacteria. With long-term symptoms, the person faces expensive additional treatments, including prescription pain medication, rehabilitation therapy to help with walking or life skills and surgical intervention.
Many people incorrectly believe that they can only get Lyme disease in late spring and summer when other types of insects flourish in the warm weather. Ticks are actually arachnids related to spiders. Black deer ticks, like many spider species, remain active all year long. Although they do not like freezing temperatures, they survive during cold months and become active as soon as temperatures start to rise. With recent extreme warm weather variations, people living in deer tick regions should follow preventative measures any time the temperatures rise above freezing.
Indoor and outdoor precautions are critical to prevent infection. Wear light-colored clothing and invest in light-colored indoor color schemes to make it easier to see ticks crawling around. Since deer ticks are among those species that have grown resistant to common pesticides used around homes, inspect people and pets regularly. Some pet owners have discovered ticks on cats, for example, even after they used repellent-style collars, gels and sprays. Outdoor property inspections can also prevent tick infestations since black-legged ticks thrive in grassy and shaded areas and anywhere that there is a build-up of tree-related debris, such as a leaf, wood or compost piles. Lastly, property owners should contact a professional pest control company like Mosquito Squad to perform yearly inspections to keep tick populations in check.
Black-legged deer ticks can cause life-long physical, emotional and financial harm to both the people they bite and their immediate families. Follow these preventative measures to safeguard your family today.