Serious Health Risks of Mosquito and Tick Bites

As a child, you probably didn’t much about the risk of mosquitoes and ticks other than the annoyance of itchy bug bites. As an adult, however, you must think about these tiny summertime pests. While the majority of mosquito bites are probably just a nuisance, some bites can become very dangerous. The same is true of tick bites. Once you understand the potential for harm from the insects, controlling them around your property may become a top priority.

Health Risks Associated With Mosquitoes

In the past few years, mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus have been carefully tracked. Most of the cases of this illness are mild and without lasting consequences, but for people with compromised immune systems, seniors, and people with diabetes, the risks are higher. Symptoms include a high fever, muscle aches, painful headaches, and nausea or vomiting. These symptoms should lead you to get immediate medical attention.

The Chikungunya virus was rarely found in the United States in the early 2000s and was limited to travelers who visited certain countries, but today, some mosquitoes in the United States carry the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 people from 14 different states reported having the virus just in the first five months of 2019. The symptoms of this virus include severe joint pain, swelling, headaches, and fever. Of course, simply scratching a mosquito bite can lead to a serious infection.

Health Risks Associated With Ticks

The humid climates of many southern states naturally support ticks and generally host several species of the arachnids. Most of the time, ticks bite long enough to fill up on a meal of blood and then drop off their host. However, that’s long enough for a person to contract Lyme disease. This tick-borne illness is carried by black-legged ticks (sometimes known as deer ticks.) Early symptoms include an expanding red area around the bite, a rash that may feel warm, body aches, chills, fever, fatigue, a stiff neck, and swollen lymph nodes. If the infection isn’t treated, further symptoms may develop, including severe joint pain, new rashes, and eventually neurological problems. Paralysis may also be a result.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is transmitted through tick bites and includes symptoms such as headaches, fever, and rashes. If it is left untreated, the bacterial disease can lead to death. Although the name of the disease seems to indicate that it would be confined to the western states, the truth is that the American Dog Tick is found across the areas east of the Rocky Mountains.

Tularemia is another bacterial disease spread by tick bites. The symptoms include fever, skin ulcers, swollen lymph glands, and even death if the disease isn’t treated appropriately. Finally, some scientists have found reason to believe that a bite from the Lone Star Tick can cause an allergy to red meat and pork.

Controlling Pests on Your Property

Tick and mosquito control in Virginia begins with professional pest control. DIY methods are sometimes hit and miss. There are five common species of tick and 174 species of mosquitoes in North America, and pest control professionals are trained to identify the most likely to be problematic. The risks of not eliminating the pests could put your pets and your family at serious risk.

The next steps should be preventing bites on your person with long-sleeves, long pants, and a hat when you’re outside. Treat your clothing (not your skin) with permethrin, an insect repellant. Finally, choose an insect repellent. The CDC recommends using a product with DEET or picaridin, two active ingredients that are most effective against biting mosquitos and ticks.

An Ounce of Prevention …

Knowing about the bacterial disease carried by insects is an important first step. You should know the symptoms of the various diseases, including others not listed here, so you can get appropriate medical treatment. Finally, be sure to contact pest control experts in your area to keep your property safe for your family and loved ones.

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