Bugs, creepy-crawlies and insects of all kinds are hands-down the biggest summer bummer out there. Between mosquitos, fire ants, wasps, yellow jackets, oh, and ticks, these pests are literally everywhere—and we mean everywhere—on the ground, in the air, in your house and on you (eww!). And while some of these pests are more annoying than actually dangerous, the same can’t necessarily be said for ticks.
That is, if you believe many of the common misconceptions and myths about them—that they often fall from trees, can smell blood and all carry disease. Now don’t get us wrong, ticks and tick bites are nothing to brush off, but they may not be quite as hazardous as you think.
So, to help set the record straight, we talked with Sang Dao, DO, Associate Medical Director at ChoiceOne Urgent Care, a partner of Gwinnett Medical Center.
Here are 6 surprising truths about ticks:
- It takes ticks hours (and hours) to transmit disease. While ticks may begin feeding quickly once they are attached, to transmit the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, they have to be attached for at least 36 to 48 hours.
- Lyme disease isn’t very common in Georgia. Despite Lyme disease being one of the most well-known tick-borne illnesses, it isn’t as frequent in Georgia. That’s because the Lone Star Tick, the most common type in the state, doesn’t carry Lyme disease.
- All tick bites can cause swelling and itching. If you’re experiencing these common symptoms upwards of 10 to 14 days after a tick bite, there’s no need to panic. Irregular symptoms to watch for include a rash (larger than a dime or in the shape of a bullseye), fever, pain and/or headaches.
- Ticks don’t live in trees or indoors. For the most part, ticks prefer to live (and reproduce) in wooded or grassy areas, and in warm, humid climates. If you find a tick in a surprising place on your body, or somewhere in your house, it likely just hitched a ride from a grassy area outdoors.
- Using repellant can offer extra protection. In addition to the basics of tick-bite prevention—avoiding their ideal environments (tall grass and heavily-wooded areas) and wearing long pants, using repellant can significantly help. DEET and Permethrin are both highly effective when used as directed.
- Removing a tick is straightforward. You don’t need to turn to lighting matches, using petroleum jelly or nail polish remover to safely and efficiently remove a tick. Use these CDC-approved tips for removal and remember, you don’t want to kill a tick while it’s attached (this won’t make it any easier to remove).
Tick-proof your summer.
Managing to breeze through the summer months bug-bite free likely isn’t possible (thank you, GA), but that doesn’t mean there’s any reason for panic, especially with the experts at ChoiceOne Urgent Care.
With two conveniently-located urgent care centers in Hamilton Mill and Sugar Hill—and now open, Grayson—ChoiceOne Urgent Care offers access to comprehensive care exactly when you need it. With experts available seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., you can count on them for all of your summer health needs.