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Disease & Illness

Deer Ticks

Ticks are the foremost conveyers (vectors) of diseases to human beings in the USA, and are second worldwide in this respect only to mosquito insects. Now it is not the bite from the tick, but the organisms, secretions or toxins present in the saliva of the tick, which is transmitted through this bite that brings about diseases. Ticks just like spiders are arthropods and there are well over 800 species of this arthropod in the world. The deer tick also known as Ixodes scapularis can be found in open fields, grassy areas, and particularly in the margin where the fields merge with wooded areas.

Ixodes scapularises are known as deer ticks because of their habit or practice of parasitizing the white tailed deer. This arthropod is a vector or agent through which many diseases are transmitted onto human beings and other animals. Such diseases include Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, et al. In the case of the Lyme disease, which is a serious human disease with symptoms that are typical of a lot of other diseases flu-like symptoms initially manifest. However, this can later develop into something more serious; rheumatoid arthritis-type disease conditions.  Normally, Lyme disease isn’t a fatal disease, nevertheless it can become difficult and debilitating when not discovered early.   

deer tick pictures

So how can you recognize deer ticks, or what are their physical attributes? Firstly, they are very small, just about the size of a tiny sesame seed. Secondly, the males are black in color, while females possess a brick-red abdominal region with a black shield close to the head. Now the female deer tick can swell to 0.25 mm whenever it is completely engorged after feeding. The abdomen of the tick in which blood consumed is held is so much bigger when full and will look so different from the remaining part of the tick that it is possible that this engorged Ixodes scapularis specimen might be considered a different tick altogether from its species. 

 The adult tick is found mainly from September through to November as well as in the month of March including April. Although adults feed primarily on deer they will also attack horses, dogs, cattle, et al. with human beings just happening to be accidental hosts. Okay if you ever come across a tick on your body it is necessary for you do one thing immediately and that is REMOVE IT FROM YOUR BODY, no hesitation! This is because ticks will need to be attached for a day before bacteria that bring disease can be transmitted.

 In order to remove ticks that are feeding some care needs to be exercised so that such ticks are not traumatized as this may lead them into regurgitating their gut contents. Consequently, the only appropriate instrument or tools for removing them without letting this happen are tweezers. Never make use of nail polish, matches, Vaseline or any other method. In making use of tweezers you will need to grasp the tick from the head region, near the skin and then pull up slowly as well as firmly. Once removal is complete you should disinfect this place with antiseptic.

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