This summer is forecast to be a Tick Booming Summer!
Already this year, the numbers of ticks and the numbers of ticks with Lyme Disease has eclipsed all other years in memory in many states from Maine to South Carolina and the Upper Midwest, including Minnesota and Wisconsin. Many Canadian provinces are also seeing increases.
Another reason for the astounding increase in ticks could be an increase in the mouse population in the Northeast and Midwest for the same reasons having to do with increasing average temperatures throughout North America. Their predators such as foxes, hawks, and owls are also disappearing. This increase in the white-footed mouse is spreading in the Midwest, Northeast and Southeast and is one cause for the increasing geographical distribution of Lyme Disease.
Ticks mean more than Lyme Disease. Many deer ticks that harbor Lyme Disease also harbor Babesia, which is a blood borne parasite capable of a debilitating illness with fevers and difficult to diagnose. Slightly less numbers of deer ticks harbor Ehrlichia which is a bacteria that causes fever and varying symptoms. But this year, increasingly experts in the Northeast have begun to see a virus emerging from ticks and infecting its human victims. The Powassan Virus causes fever and possibly a neurologic syndrome. It has been found in approximately 2-4% of ticks, but different from Lyme Disease which takes 24 hours of tick attachment to infect the host, it only takes less than a minute of a tick bite to contract Powassan. In some areas, Rickettsia and Tick Borne Fever are spread by ticks.
Break out the insect repellant this summer, and make sure it has at least 20% DEET. More than 50% DEET is not better than 25% DEET in general. At Protect U Guard, we have DEET products, including Sunsect combination sunscreen and insect repellant. Check out our product offerings Here.
Treat your clothing with permethrin if you are going camping or hiking in a wooded area. You can also use Picardin compounds. Check out Sawyer Products, a local Florida company. Wearing long sleeves and pants can help, but be sure to check your scalp and skin for ticks after coming indoors. You can purchase permethrin treated clothing which usually lasts for many washes depending on the manufacturer.
Also, check your clothes, back pack and your pets for ticks when coming indoors because the ticks can hitchhike and then attach to you later. Wash your clothes immediately after hiking and put them in the dryer.