Ticks—the mere thought of them brings a shudder. If you’ve ever had to deal with these pesky creatures, you already understand how uncomfortable they can make life from spring to fall.

In addition to causing illness and infection, some ticks are also responsible for spreading Lyme disease, and in some cases, can cause death. 

Tick treatment varies, and while there is a lot of information on the web about how to remove them, they can be quite resilient.

What You Need To Know About Ticks

A large number of people are unaware of the possibilities and full consequences of being bitten by a tick.

The chances of it turning into a full-blown disease should never be ignored. Ticks are regarded as harmless blood-sucking bugs. Far from it, they carry the possibility of giving you a serious disease.

Known for being most active mid-May to mid-August, ticks thrive in shady, moist areas at ground level like lawns and gardens or woodsy places with tall grass.

Believe it or not, these tiny creatures are not insects. They are members of the arachnid family, which accounts for their spider-like appearance. Hiding on tall blades of grass, ticks will wait to come into contact with their human or animal host. Once contact has been made, they crawl around looking for a thin area of skin to latch onto.

Ticks are known to lay in wait for a very long time to latch onto a warm-blooded host.

The fur of animals is a perfect hiding place for the ticks to latch onto, where they can suck out blood and stay in the shade.

This is exactly why you will find ticks nestling in paws of dogs, in-ear folds, and the more shady areas of the dogs coat/body.

Ticks can survive for long without a host and then get onto a suitable host the moment the host comes in touch with the ticks.

Removing ticks can be tricky. Unlike other insects or arachnids, you cannot just brush them off your skin once they have latched on.

In order to remove one, you will need to use gloves and a clean set of tweezers. Grasp the tick carefully with the tweezers, trying not to break off the head or the mouthparts. Rather than twisting it off, pull the tick directly away from the skin.

If you have to use tweezers, bear in mind that if you happen to use far too much pressure on the tweezers, you may end up squishing the ticks. And that will leave part of the ticks embedded in the skin.

Use the right amount of pressure to gently yet firmly pull out the ticks. Trying to do this with impatience or repulsion is bound to be an incomplete action. Tweezers are handy, but they need to be used with just the right amount of pressure whiles squeezing and tugging at the ticks.

Do not try to use petroleum jelly or other substances to smother it as ticks can survive long amounts of time without air.

Once the tick has been removed, use soap and water or alcohol to cleanse the area. Saving the tick in a plastic bag or small bottle can be useful should you experience any illness afterward.

If a doctor can identify what kind of tick bit you, the treatment process can begin sooner.

Contrary to what you may have heard, ticks don’t start transmitting disease the moment they bite you. Many people will never experience a side effect at all, but you should pay close attention to how you feel in the following days after a tick has been removed.

Should you experience fatigue, aches, and pains in muscles/joints, headaches or break out into a rash, visit your doctor right away. These could be symptoms of Lyme disease.

This is probably one of the biggest problems faced by individuals. The lack of some symptoms will lull people into a sense of security, while the disease may be actually manifesting in your body.

This makes it all the more careful if you happen to reside in an area that has a probability of ticks and infestation. And in the event that you have come across a tick in close proximity to you, or on your clothing, bedding or habitation, you need to be extra careful.

While there is no vaccination currently for humans with Lyme disease, there is one for dogs.

If you live in an area where ticks are common, getting your four-legged friend vaccinated may save you both a lot of heartaches later on down the road.

To protect yourself, try tucking your pants into your socks or boots if traveling in a wooded area or place where ticks might live. You can use insect repellent that contains DEET to ward them off, too. Some clothing stores even sell insect repellent clothing.

It is of utmost importance to get your dog vaccinated. Dogs are the most prone to play host to ticks. This is because dogs spend considerable time outdoors and are most likely to stay put in one place for a long time, sniffing and playing around.

Dogs also have the habit of being curious about new objects or materials. As a result ticks from tick-infested clothing or objects can easily move onto the dogs, where they find a natural hiding place and feeding source.

While it may sometimes be difficult to actually carry out a series of check every day like some kind of routine, it is actually possible to take adequate precautions.

For instance, you can use the right kind of repellents; you can get your dog vaccinated, you can look out for signs of rashes on your skin, or some kind of heightened irritation and itching. The moment you feel that something is out of place, you can then immediately take a careful look and avail treatment if necessary.

So what’s the bottom line? A few simple checks like the ones above can keep you living tick free and enjoying your outdoor time.

A veterinarian, Clemmie Roob earned her PhD in Biomedical Sciences. In addition to practicing veterinary medicine, she also develops web content professional, focusing in her writing on veterinary medicine, biomedical sciences and research, alternative and complementary medicine, and comparative medicine.