Ticks are one of the leading carriers of disease to humans in the United States. Armed with a piercing bite, it is the secretions, toxins, and other organisms found in the tick’s saliva that transmits the diseases that make us sick. Luckily, there are ways to prevent and remove the pests with home remedies for ticks.
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What are Ticks?
Ticks belong to the same family as spiders, mites, and scorpions. Across the globe, there are more than 800 species of ticks to worry about. The pest is interested in feeding off of the blood of a victim – human or animal. The two families of ticks to become familiar with is Ixodidae (hard ticks) and Argasidae (soft ticks), which transmit different kinds of sickness .
Hard ticks are equipped with a strong back plate (or scutum) that sets them apart from other pests. Ticks tend to attach and feed for hours up to days. The transmission of disease generally takes place as the end of their meal nears – when the tick is full of blood. Ticks usually dwell in locations with tall grass, overgrown brush, wooded areas, and forest beds.
Why Are Ticks Dangerous?
Ticks are known to carry disease and infect their victims. In the United States, humans should be aware of anaplasmosis and babesiosis (from blacklegged ticks), Lyme disease (from the blacklegged and western blacklegged tick), ehrlichiosis (from the lone star tick), Rocky Mountain spotted fever (brown dog tick), and tularemia (from dog ticks, wood ticks and the lone star tick).
Causes and Symptoms
Not all species of tick are a threat to humans even though they may reside in a specific state. For example, Illinois is home to at least 15 species of ticks. However, only a few species threaten humans, such as the American dog tick, lone star tick, blacklegged (deer) tick, brown dog tick and winter tick .
The bite of a tick is typically painless, and many people are unaware that they have been bitten. If a tick has bitten you, you may exhibit flu-like symptoms, fever, numbness, rash (or localized redness), weakness, confusion, shortness of breath, palpitation, nausea, vomiting, as well as pain and swelling in the joints.
Tick Home Remedies
When you venture out into the woods, forest, or even your own backyard, you never know when you will come in contact with a potential threat. Ticks are not only a threat to animals, but also humans. To avoid the side effects of tick bites, bacterial infections, or a case of Lyme disease, it is suggested to become familiar with home remedies for ticks:
a) Choice of Clothing:
The type of clothing you wear outside can lessen your contact with ticks. Choose long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and boots for trips involving tall grass and brush. Make sure to tuck the cuffs of your pants into your socks. It is also suggested to wear something that covers your head.
b) Insect Repellent:
If you apply an insect repellent that contains 10 to 30 percent DEET onto your clothes, you can decrease the chances of ticks bothering you in the outdoors.
c) Walking and Camping Habits:
When walking outside, it is suggested to position yourself in the center of paths and trails so that you avoid brushing up against weeds. When camping out, make sure to set up tents and sitting areas away from piles of leaf litter. Avoid directly sitting down on the forest floor, where ticks are likely to dwell.
d) Constant Check:
When enjoying the great outdoors, it is important to constantly check your clothing and skin for ticks every two to three hours. Ticks rarely attach to the skin quickly and rarely transmit a disease until they’ve been attached for four or more hours. Outdoor-loving pets need to be inspected as well.
e) Masking Tape:
Ticks that crawl on the outside of clothing can be removed by folding over a piece of masking or cellophane tape to reveal the sticky side. Press the stickiness against ticks, fold over, and then toss in the trash.
If you go outside in tick-infested areas, it is suggested to carry a pair of tweezers along for the ride.
g) Soap and Water:
After removing a tick from the skin, thoroughly wash the area with soap and water. Follow up with an application of an antiseptic to protect against infection.
h) White Flannel:
Assess your surroundings before venturing into heavily wooded or grassy areas. Tie a piece of white flannel to a string, and drag through the underbrush or grass. If you’ve entered a danger zone, the cloth will reveal ticks that have attached.
Repel ticks on pets with the scent of lemons. Cut six lemons in half and boil in a quart of water. Allow the liquid and fruit to steep for a couple of hours. Strain the solution and transfer into a spray bottle. Apply the home remedy to your pet’s fur – making sure to avoid spraying into their eyes.
Since ticks are not too fond of the smell of garlic, you can use it to your advantage when it comes time to protect against the pest. One way to embrace this home remedy is to eat raw garlic or take garlic pills, which releases offensive chemicals into the skin and blood – making you less attractive to ticks. You may also give small quantities of garlic to your pets, such as grating a bit of garlic and adding to their meals.