red and black tick on piece of wood
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How To Identify Different Types Of Ticks: A Beginner’s Guide

As the warm weather approaches and activities such as hiking become more inviting, many people will flock to wooded areas to enjoy the best Mother Nature has to offer. Research shows that being in nature is a great way to combat stress and improve overall levels of health – however, there are some risks associated with being in the great outdoors. One particular risk is getting bit by a tick.

A tick bite is no ordinary bug bite. This is because of the diseases ticks can carry. One such disease is Lyme disease, which, if left untreated, can lead to chronic health issues. Diseased ticks can also carry other types of infections such as anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Bourbon virus, Colorado tick fever, Heartland virus, Rocky mountain spotted fever, and Tularemia.

Ticks are small arachnids that thrive in wooded areas, grasslands, and forests. Their survival relies on their ability to find a host and feed on its blood. There are many different species of ticks that can be found in North America. Some exclusively feed on wild animals, but there are some that will latch onto a human to get their meal. Those types of ticks are the ones you’ll need to watch out for while you’re out enjoying the fresh air. But how can you spot a tick? And how do you know which ones pose the most danger? Read on for our beginner’s guide to how to identify different types of ticks. 

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What Extreme Weather Conditions Will Mean For The Global Tick Population

For Lyme disease to thrive in the United States, tick populations also need to thrive. It’s a cyclical occurrence that when ticks have a “good” year, Lyme disease numbers tend to increase. With the global onset of environmental changes, though, the effects on the United States climate have been detrimental.

Consider the wildfires that rage through California. Although climate change may not be a direct cause, it is a threat multiplier, meaning that it increases the risk that such events will be worse than in previous years. But what does this have to do with tick populations and Lyme disease?

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Is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Caused By Ticks?

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF for short) is one of the most dangerous vector-borne diseases that humans can contract. Yet not a lot of people know how you catch it. Lyme is the heavy-hitter of vector-borne diseases, but there are countless more out there that humans can potentially contract from any given bite of a tick, louse, mite, or flea. Sometimes these can be transmitted simultaneously with Lyme disease, in which case they’re known as co-infections. Sometimes they are contracted singularly and do enough damage on their own. Unfortunately for doctors, many of the initial symptoms of these diseases present the same way. Knowing if you have come into contact with any ticks or fleas recently is key. But is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever caused by ticks? And if so, what tick causes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?

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How Do You Contract Rickettsia?

Most people know that you contract Lyme disease through a tick bite. But Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme-causative bacteria, is not the only pathogen that can be transferred via tick saliva. Other diseases can occur simultaneously with Lyme; these are called co-infections. Unfortunately, the public and medical professional education surrounding co-infections is scant at best. They can often compound the symptoms of Lyme disease, or cause disturbing new symptoms in their own right. Left untreated, they can also cause old symptoms to resurge, complicating treatment and prolonging patients’ suffering.

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Which Ticks Carry Lyme Disease?

Most people know that you can get Lyme disease from ticks, but very few people know what type of ticks, and the percentage chance you have of contracting the disease if you’re unlucky enough to get bitten. In recent years, Lyme was thought to have been a totally North Eastern phenomenon, incapable of spreading outside key states like Connecticut (where it was first diagnosed and discovered in 1975), Maine, Vermont, and New York. In 2018, however, Lyme can be found in every state in mainland U.S., and constitutes one of the fastest-growing vector-borne diseases on the planet. Education is one of the best weapons we have in the battle against Lyme disease; using that as a jumping-off point, the first thing you should know is which type of ticks carry the Lyme virus. Continue reading “Which Ticks Carry Lyme Disease?”