Ticks are most active in spring and summer and can be found in grass, leaves, wooded areas, and branches. They crawl up a blade of grass or sit on the edge of brush or leaves with their front legs extended, waiting for a passing host. Once on you, they find a soft feeding surface, cut the skin, imbed their feeding tubes and suck blood for several days if unnoticed. CDC – Tick Life Cycle and Hosts – Ticks. Not all ticks carry disease and not everyone with a tick borne disease finds a tick on themselves. If you find a tick imbedded use fine tip tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull upward with steady pressure until the tick is removed. Wash the area and your hands with soap and water or alcohol. Currently, if you are a resident, you can go on TickReport – Tick Testing Services for Lyme Disease and tick-borne diseases and fill out a form to have the tick tested for bacteria and a report sent to you free of charge. There are pre-paid envelopes available in the Public Health Nursing Office in the Human Services Building.
Symptoms of tick borne diseases may include malaise, headache, fever, joint pain, muscle pain, chills, and nausea and vomiting. For Lyme disease there may be a bullseye rash.
Tickborne disease we most frequently see on Cape Cod are: Anaplasmosis Home | Anaplasmosis | CDC, Babesiosis CDC – Babesiosis, and Lyme diseaseCDC – Lyme Disease Home Page. Other tick borne diseases that have been recently documented in New England are Borrelia miyamotoi, CDC – B.Miyamotoi – Ticks and STARI CDC – Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness.
If you have any of the above symptoms and especially if you have found a tick on yourself and are feeling ill call you doctor. There are antibiotics, which when taken as prescribed, can kill the bacteria.