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Sadly, it is common to come in contact with ticks in Houston, especially if you hang out in woodlands, parks, or areas of moist vegetation and tall grass. When you find a tick on yourself (hopefully, not attached), you may have questions. Your first question might be: "How dangerous are ticks?" Today, we're going to answer this question and give you some tips to help you protect yourself.

How Dangerous Is A Houston Tick?

We have quite a few species of ticks. Not all of them present the same level of threat. Some ticks attach to humans more readily than others. Some have the ability to carry diseases that can lead to lifelong medical problems while others do not. Therefore, how dangerous a tick can depends on the tick. Here are some general facts you should know about tick-borne diseases:

  • Lyme disease gets quite a lot of press, but it is far from the only dangerous disease spread by ticks. Ticks in the U.S. spread ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Colorado tick fever, Powassan virus, Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis, Heartland disease, anaplasmosis, bourbon virus, Borrelia miyamotoi, tularemia, and more.

  • Ticks aren't born with diseases. Therefore, finding young ticks on you (those are the ones with six legs) isn't as bad as finding an adult tick.

  • If a tick is infected with a disease, it may not be able to pass it to you if you catch the tick early and remove it correctly. It takes time for a tick to spread enough disease-causing bacteria into your body to counteract your body's ability to fight it off.

  • Tick-borne diseases, even potentially deadly ones, may cause mild or no symptoms at all. It depends on your body's defensive ability. Individuals with a compromised immune system are at greater risk.

What To Do If You Find A Tick

Since the diseases spread by ticks take time, early detection is key. Here are a few tips to consider if you find a tick:

  • Use a tick-removal tool if you have one. It's the best way to get ticks off.

  • If you don't have a tick-removal tool, use needle-nose tweezers.

  • Grip the tick as close to the head as possible and lift upwards and away from your skin. Be careful to avoid pinching the body of the tick.

  • Apply alcohol or some form of antibacterial agent to the area the tick was attached.

Tick-Bite Prevention

The best way to prevent tick-borne disease is to avoid tick bites. We have many suggestions for how you can do this:

  • Avoid going into areas where ticks are known to be.

  • Wear mosquito repellent on your feet and lower legs. This prevents ticks from attaching and climbing up your body. A product containing DEET works well. If you prefer a natural repellent, try one that has the oil of lemon eucalyptus.

  • Tuck your pant legs into your socks to stop ticks from crawling up underneath.

  • Address problems that create moist conditions around your home, such as clogged gutters or gutter breaks.

  • If you have a dog or cat, routinely check your pets for ticks when they come in from outside. Check the ears and between the toes first, these are common locations where ticks attach. Then feel through your pet's hair or fur to detect bumps on the skin.

  • Consider investing in a residential pest control program that includes tick reduction around the exterior of your home. This will give your pets, and you, more protection when outside.

Wildlife Prevention

Ticks don't crawl into your yard. They primarily come into your yard on furry animals. A key way to prevent ticks in your yard, and inside your home, is to address furry animals, particularly rodents, as they can enter your home and spread ticks around.

  • Make sure your trash is in covered containers that can't easily be knocked over by raccoons.

  • Use fencing material to keep animals from finding harborage under structures or in your crawl space.

  • Move bird feeders far from your exterior walls. Seeds are a preferred food source for many small animals.

  • Keep your grass cut and remove unnecessary vegetation from your landscaping.

  • Seal any gaps in your exterior to prevent rodents from entering.

  • If you detect rodents in your home, contact a licensed professional to have them trapped and removed.

Houston Pest Control

If you'd like help evaluating the tick threat in your yard, or with the establishment of a pest control program that can repel and eliminate ticks around your home, we'd love the opportunity to assist you with this. We provide the highest level of pest control coverage for homes in Houston. Connect with us today to request a free estimate to get started.

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