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Do you know everything you should about ticks?

La Crosse, WI, United States / Classic Rock 100.1

We are heading to the Northwoods at the end of the month for a little vacation, so we wanted to make sure to get the pup up to date on her Frontline application because ticks are nasty and I’d rather not have to deal with them. We’ve been good about applying the medication monthly, but seeing as we’ll be outdoors for the better part of a week, we wanted to make sure we’re ready to go, especially since it’s supposed to be a bad summer for ticks.

The gist of the linked video there is that mild winters equal more deer and mice, and they are the primary carriers of Lyme, which gets transmitted to the ticks, which then gets transmitted to you. Or Fido.

Experts at Cornell University explained that because of a milder winter in the Northeast, a dramatic increase in the tick population is expected in that region and possibly across the northern United States. In 2015, about 30,000 cases of Lyme disease were reported in Americans, but the number was likely much higher, according to the CDC.

I came across an article talking about some common misconceptions about ticks: how to remove them, how dangerous they are, etc., and I thought it would be appropriate to share those myths here.

From the USA Today network:

Myth: The only way to remove a tick from the skin by burning it.

While burning a tick off the skin may seem like a satisfying and fool-proof way to get the blood-sucker off, it’s also the worst way to remove it, according to Kevin R. Macaluso, professor at the Louisiana State University school of veterinary medicine. He notes that burning it may actually increase the risk of getting a tick-borne disease. “Applying heat can increase [the tick’s] saliva production and if its infected with something increase pathogen transmission,” according to Macaluso. Beyond burning yourself, or starting a fire, you may just end up with a scorched tick attached to your skin, said Durland Fish, a Yale school of health professor of epidemiology. Fish said the best way to remove a tick is to use tweezers and grab the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull straight out.

 Myth: You can feel a tick bite you. 

While a very small group of people may be able to feel a tick bite, the vast majority aren’t aware they’ve been bitten.  Macaluso said ticks secrete compounds that make humans or animals they are attached to unaware they are being bitten or fed on.

Myth: Ticks smell your blood like vampires and come towards you. 

Ticks don’t smell blood, Kevin said.  “They sense carbon dioxide, respiration when you are breathing, and can sense heat and movement,” he said. “That is basically how they track a host; it’s not blood per say.”

So basically, they are Predator.

Myth: Ticks jump out of trees and onto you.

False.  “Ticks can’t jump, they don’t even have the biomechanics to jump,” Kevin said. “Ticks crawl from your leg area, so when you get a tick on different parts of your body, it’s because they crawled there.”

Myth: Lyme disease is the only tick-related disease you have to worry about. 

False. Different species of ticks carry different types of diseases, and Lyme disease isn’t the only disease to worry about, according to Fish.

Ehrlichiosis is a bacterial illness,  typically transmitted by the Lone Star tick, which is widely distributed.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a tick-borne illness caused by the bacteria Rickettsia rickettsii. It’s potentially fatal in humans and is transmitted in the U.S. by bites from the American dog tick, Rocky Mountain wood tick, and brown dog tick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Powassan is a potentially fatal virus transmitted by tick bites. Powassan can be fatal, and some of those who survive may have long-term neurological damage, Fish said. There are no treatments for Powassan.

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