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Tickborne illnesses on the rise

Posted at 2:38 PM, Nov 14, 2018
Tick
Tick

COLORADO – Colorado’s winter weather stops the state from having a whole host of various bugs that can’t survive the cold weather. Unfortunately, ticks are not one of those. There are roughly 30 species of ticks that can transmit numerous diseases in Colorado year round.

The number of infections carried by ticks has hit a record high in the United States, according to a new report. According to the CDC, nearly 60,000 people were diagnosed with a tickborne infection, mostly Lyme disease, in 2017 and that’s just a fraction of the true count.

Ticks transmit over 20 pathogens that may make humans, pets or wildlife sick from just a single bite. The disease can be similar to having the flu with a fever, headache, sweats, chills, fatigue, muscle/joint pain, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and rashes. The symptoms can be vague, making the diagnosis difficult. The earlier the diseases are diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome.

Ticks are around throughout the year but exposure tends to occur in the warmer weather. They can detect body odor, CO2, body heat and vibration which aid them in locating their prey. You can protect yourself with a long sleeve shirt and long pants, but you still need to do a tick check after spending time outdoors.

The use of repellents can reduce your exposure to tick bites. Products that contain DEET do help, but it has to be re-applied regularly. Wearing Permethrin-treated clothing is the most effective way to protect you from ticks, as well as mosquitoes and other biting insects. Permethrin kills ticks after only 5 to 30 seconds of exposure.

If you find an embedded tick, use tweezers to grab it as close to the skin as possible and slowly pull straight out. It’s a good idea to save it in a small plastic bag or container to have it tested if you show symptoms.
You can find more information on the different ticks in Colorado by clicking here.