The benefits of going outdoors to exercise and get some fresh air during the COVID-19 pandemic are well recognized. And with more people looking to safely hit local trails and parks for a much-needed change of pace, Clark, your neighborly pest control, termite, and lawn care expert, would like to caution trailblazers to keep alert for ticks.
According to recent data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cases of tick-borne diseases have increased steadily over the past few years. To make matters worse, symptoms of some tick-borne diseases are similar to those of COVID-19. This makes it crucial that both experienced and novice outdoor enthusiasts take proper precautions in order to protect against tick bites and the dangerous diseases that can result.
"With an active pandemic gripping the globe, it’s even more important to know the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease to ensure it is treated promptly, as it presents with many similar symptoms to that of COVID-19, such as muscle aches, headaches, and fever,” says Dr. Jorge Parada, a medical advisor for the National Pest Management Association. “The major discernible difference is that Lyme disease usually also presents with a red bullseye rash.”
Parada says a significant minority of Lyme cases do not have the hallmark rash, increasing the risk of missed diagnosis. In addition, flu-like symptoms can also present in cases of other dangerous and sometimes fatal tick-borne diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, and anaplasmosis. Knowing this, make sure you monitor for these symptoms after spending time outdoors, and seek medical attention immediately if you think you’ve been bitten.
The most common tick species found in California is the western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus). This species of ticks is found along the Pacific coast, particularly in northern California. They can transmit diseases to humans and are similar in appearance to the deer tick.
Preventing tick bites
To protect yourself and lessen the risk of contracting a tick-borne disease, Clark recommends you take the following steps:
· Wear long sleeves, pants, and light-colored clothing, and apply insect repellent with at least 20 percent DEET when heading outdoors.
· Stay in the center of trails, away from vegetation where ticks tend to live. Also, be sure to check your body for ticks once you’ve returned home, remembering that ticks can be quite small when not engorged with a blood meal.
· If you notice a tick on your body, remove it immediately to lessen the chance of being exposed to potential disease transmission. This goes for both you and your animal companions.
· If you’ve been bitten, wash the bite site and monitor for symptoms. Call your health care provider immediately if you begin to feel ill or notice a rash developing.
If you have questions about ticks and Lyme disease, call (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Until next time, the pest management professionals at Clark Pest Control thank you for helping to keep unwanted pests out of your home and yard.