Are Deer Tick Bites Dangerous?
Every good story starts strong and ends strong, and the story of "how dangerous deer ticks can be" is a story that delivers. It has a great protagonist: You. It has a scary antagonist: Lyme disease. And it has many twists and turns that are sure to keep you on the edge of your seat as it moves from its strong start to its strong ending. Let's take a look.
Are deer tick bites dangerous? Yes. That is pretty scary, huh? You've probably heard this many times from many sources. Deer ticks are the ticks that carry Lyme disease, and Lyme disease is dangerous, therefore deer tick bites must be dangerous. Our story is off to strong start. But, before it even has a chance to get going, there is a plot twist. While all deer ticks can spread Lyme disease to humans, all deer ticks don't have the ability to cause Lyme disease. So, immediately, it doesn't feel as scary as it did when we started. Deer tick bites aren't so dangerous, right?
If only one deer tick is able to spread Lyme disease, then we can safely say that deer tick bites are not dangerous. But, this is not the case. There is an uncountable number of deer ticks that can spread this disease. The best way to understand the threat is to look at a number we can count. The CDC estimates that 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease in the United States every year. That is a big number. When you consider that Lyme disease can turn into a lifelong health problem, it is even more intimidating. But, there is another plot twist.
Not everyone who contracts Lyme disease gets sick, and Lyme disease is treatable in its early stage. For this reason, early detection is key in the prevention of long-term health complications. So, once again, the antagonist is on the ropes. If Lyme disease is treatable, it isn't dangerous.
Sometimes, Lyme disease is not properly diagnosed. This is a disease that mimics other diseases such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, meningitis, migraines, multiple sclerosis, Bell's palsy, and more. And, sometimes the early symptoms of Lyme disease are mistaken for the flu or a cold. When a tick is found on the skin or a red bullseye rash appears, these give us warning to seek medical attention. But, if a tick is not seen, or no bullseye rash is observed, Lyme disease is allowed to take its course in the body. This is can happen with humans, but is even more common with dogs and cats.
Here is where the protagonist wins. The threat of Lyme disease can be significantly reduced. While this is a stealthy disease that afflicts over 300,000 people each year, you can beat the odds by doing the following:
- Protect yourself when you go outside into nature. It may seem silly, but tucking your pants into your socks and spraying mosquito repellent on your pant legs can protect you from having a tick crawl up and attach itself to you. Try to stay away from tall grassy areas. And always do a check for deer ticks when you come back in from the outside.
- Check your animals regularly for ticks. Be aware that they can pick them up in the yard, and even get them inside your home. Mice are considered a vector for Lyme disease because they bring ticks into homes. While you're not likely to cuddle up with a wild mouse, your pet can bring those ticks to you. Ongoing pest control is key in reducing the risk of Lyme disease.
Are you ready for the big ending? Deer tick bites aren't dangerous if you are bitten by a tick that doesn't have the tick-borne obligate parasite known as Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes the immunopathological response that leads to Lyme disease (wow, that's a mouth full) or if you take precautions to reduce your risk of coming in contact with these bugs.
If you would like information on how the QualityPro-certified team at American Pest protects homes and businesses from the threat of deer ticks, you can contact us right here on our webpage. We'll help steer your family and your pets toward a good ending to this story. One case of Lyme disease is one case too many. Protect yourself with pest control you can trust.