According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), insect-borne diseases have tripled since 2004. This statistic kind of blows my mind. As a family, we’ve always been pretty cautious about bug bite prevention, but after hearing this new statistic, we are being even more vigilant. I’ve had close friends and family who have had first-hand experiences with Lyme Disease and it is nothing to take lightly. I’m thrilled to be partnering with our sponsor, RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment), to share information on how to protect you and your family.
What kinds of insect-borne diseases are there to be concerned about?
Lyme Disease is a disease caused by a bacteria carried by deer ticks and is most concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest. When the tick bites its host, the bacteria can be transmitted into the bloodstream of humans or pets. The stereotypical symptom of Lyme is a bullseye rash at the site of infection, however victims can be infected and develop full-blown Lyme Disease without ever exhibiting a bullseye rash. Also, if the infection site is obscured (such as by hair on the head) the rash may be missed. Other symptoms to watch out for are fever, headache and fatigue. If left untreated, Lyme Disease can seriously affect the joints, nervous system and heart.
Josh recently picked up a tick while doing some basic yard work. He felt it in his hair and my dad helped him remove it and identify it as a wood tick. While we were relieved it wasn’t a deer tick, that doesn’t mean that it is a “safe tick”. Wood ticks can carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF). In reality, there is no such thing as a “safe tick” as any time you are bitten, you run the risk of a topical infection, even if the tick does not carry one of the more than 12 diseases that can be transmitted to humans and pets.
Tick checks are an important part of any prevention protocol as the sooner the tick is discovered and removed, the smaller the chance of infection. Make sure you also protect and check your pets as they can also contract some of these nasty tick-borne diseases.
West Nile Virus, Zika, Dengue Fever, Chikungunya, the Keystone virus: While ticks seem to be grabbing all of the headlines lately, mosquitoes can also transmit diseases such as West Nile, Zika and a host of other nasty diseases. Not to mention the annoyance of the itchy welts they leave behind (which can also get infected.)
The best thing you can do is prevent the bite to begin with. But how do you do that?
Barriers are the best way to keep ticks and mosquitoes off of you and your family. If you are going to be out in the brush or long grass, wear pants and tuck cuffs into your socks. Use an EPA-approved repellent and apply following the directions carefully. Spray over clothes (not under) and use your own hands to apply to children so that they do not accidentally get it into their eyes or mouth.
If you choose to treat your yard, create an invisible “fence” by spraying around the perimeter of the property, according to label directions. Cut down on mosquito breeding grounds by eliminating any standing water. Help keep ticks from settling in your yard by keeping grass neatly trimmed and remove any piles of brush promptly.
Hopefully, a little prevention will help keep you and your family from experiencing any of the nasty insect-borne illnesses that keep popping up. It only takes a few minutes to put some of the safeguards we have discussed into action. For more information, check out DebugtheMyths.com.