What You Need to Know About Tick-Borne Illness
By: David Hart
The longer you wait, the more likely you'll suffer the worst consequences of a tick-borne illness. Learn how to spot the signs and what to do
To most of us, ticks are just a necessary distraction from the things we love so much. We flick them off our pants during turkey season and we pull them from our skin after a day of summer scouting.
Most of the time, we are left with nothing more than a red spot that itches for a couple of days.
Some of us aren’t quite as lucky. An estimated 300,000 Americans are infected with Lyme disease every year. Many of them are unsuspecting hunters.
So how do you know if you are one of them?
You’ve Been Bitten By a Tick
The obvious first sign is a tick bite, but the mere presence of a tick on your skin is no cause for alarm. Only ticks that actually sink their capitulum, or head, into your skin can transmit Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. The sooner you pull it, the less likely you are to get any of them. It can take up to 24 hours for an embedded tick to transmit Lyme disease.
More good news? Not all ticks are vectors for Lyme. Some species, like the lone star tick, don’t carry it at all. Neither do dog ticks or wood ticks.
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