Ticks are small blood sucking parasites which have eight legs. They come in two types: one with a hard outer shell and one with a soft outer shell. Soft-shelled ticks live in crevices and will only come out to feed, while hard-shelled ticks spend a lot of time attached to their host. Ticks feed on blood—a good source of protein. They feed on animals and even on humans.
Ticks usually live in tall grass where they wait for a host to brush by it. Most people think that ticks jump onto you; but this is false. They have a structure in their mouth called a “hypostome” which they use to attach themselves to their host and start feeding. They will stay attached until they are full of blood, and eventually they will just drop off.
Tick Bite Prevention
- Wear pants and long-sleeved shirts that cover your skin.
- Tuck your pants into your sucks and your shirt into your pants. The more you display skin, the likely they are to attach themselves on you.
- Wear a tick repellent.
An insecticide called permethrin can kill ticks and can be found in sporting goods and gardening centers. Take cotton, treat it with the permethrin, and put it in biodegradable cardboard tubes. Place the tubes outside where mice can collect it for their nests. The permethrin kills any ticks that feed on the mice. This system will not harm the mice, but will kill the ticks.
If you want to keep your pets away from ticks, the best way is to keep them inside your house. Give them a bath regularly. Brush them using a special brush made to remove fleas and ticks that stick on them. You can also inspect their fur. This will not only keep them safe from ticks, but will also keep you safe. Ticks can easily spread within the house. If you have a backyard or a garden, better keep your grass mowed short to avoid ticks.
Ticks carry many kinds of diseases. Many people who become sick after a tick bite have been infected by tick-borne illnesses. Ticks can carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, as well as many others. Treatment by antibiotics should be started if there are any signs of a tick-borne illness.
When you see that a tick is attached to your skin, don’t panic and remove it out because chances are that some of its mouth parts will be left on or inside your skin—which then leads to infection. Once you have found a tick, use a pair of tweezers and put them around the tick, as close to the surface of your skin as possible. Wiggle the tweezers a bit to get the tick to come out. Pull slowly but firmly. Once you get it, don’t throw it in the trash because chances are that it will climb up and bite you again. Burn it or wrap it in a tissue and flash it down the toilet. Do not crush it with your hand or feet because it will release toxins inside the tick. Wash the side of the bite with soap and water. Better yet, go to the doctor and let him check the tick bite to avoid any tick disease.