We have at least fifteen species of ticks in Chicago; most of them aren't considered a threat to humans. The ones that are, vary in how much of a threat they present.
American dog ticks and brown dog ticks have a preference for the blood of domesticated canines. If these ticks get into your home, they'll cause more trouble for your furry family members than for you. But they can and do bite humans in certain circumstances, and they are known to transmit harmful diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Two other ticks we commonly see in Chicago homes are blacklegged ticks and Lone Star ticks. These ticks readily attach to humans and both can present a medical concern. Blacklegged ticks are linked to Lyme disease transmission and Lone Star ticks have a connection to red meat food allergy. While neither is able to live in your Chicago home permanently, they can pose a threat when they're brought in by your pets or by rodents that get into your home.
Tick Disease Transmission
When considering tick-borne illnesses, it is important to understand how ticks spread diseases. It isn't as simple as being stung. A tick doesn't immediately inject disease into you. They carry microorganisms that pass from the tick into you by way of the tick's salivary glands. Your body has the ability to combat these microorganisms to a certain extent, depending on how strong your immune system is. So a few of these organisms aren't likely to cause you to be sick from a disease. In the case of Lyme disease, it can take 36 to 48 hours for the bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, to enter your body in a sufficient amount to cause the symptoms of Lyme disease.
If you're reading this, you may already know that early detection is key to preventing sickness and symptoms. You should frequently check your pets and yourself, especially when coming into your home after being in the woods or after walking in tall grass.
When you find a tick on your body, the first step is removal. This must be done with consideration for how tick-borne diseases are transmitted. If you pinch the tick on its body, you will introduce more bacteria into the wound. This will increase your chances of acute symptoms or chronic disease. We recommend using fine-tipped tweezers or a tick-removal tool to get ticks off your skin. Pinch the tick on its head, as close to your skin as possible. Pull outward and upward with a slow, steady motion. Refrain from twisting or pulling quickly because this could break the mouth-parts of the tick and leave them lodged in your skin.
Watch For Symptoms
There are many suggestions for treating tick wounds, but we don't offer these as it is not our expertise. We can, however, share with you some of the symptoms associated with tick-borne diseases. It is important to watch for these signs as they can give you early warning to a potentially serious response.
Lyme is often associated with a bullseye rash, but this rash is not always present.
Other tick-borne diseases can cause a rash to develop near the bite wound or across the whole body. The more severe the rash, the more severe the reaction. If you're experiencing a severe reaction, seek medical attention.
Some tick-borne diseases cause flu-like symptoms. You may experience a fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, weakness, muscle aches, a headache, nausea, or vomiting.
You could experience pain, swelling, or blisters.
In severe cases, you may have difficulty breathing.
Some tick-borne diseases lead to chronic fatigue and medical complications.
Common Tick-Borne Diseases
Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Colorado tick fever
And Powassan virus disease.
If you're bitten by a tick in your yard, you should take action to have your yard treated. There are EPA-approved products that break the cycle of tick development and make it difficult for ticks to live near your home. If you need these services, reach out to Aerex Pest Control. Our knowledgeable service team members are here to help you with all your pest control needs. We can help you find the right solution for your Chicago-area pest control needs. This might be a one-time treatment, or ongoing residential pest control that includes coverage for ticks. Keep in mind that the treatments we provide for ticks can also help get control of another common, disease-spreading pest: the mosquito. No Chicago home should be without this essential protection. Connect with Aerex Pest Control today to get your protection in place.