Ticks are non-insect arthropod arachnids closely related to spiders, scorpions, and mites. They are important to humans because they feed on animals and can pass diseases to people, pets, wildlife, and livestock. In Montana, ticks are capable of transmitting several tick-borne illnesses to people:
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)
- Colorado Tick Fever
- Tularemia (commonly known as “rabbit fever”)
- Tick-borne relapsing fever
You can reduce your risk of being infected with a tick-borne illness by using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing. Remember to check yourself, other family members, and pets for ticks after recreating outdoors. Early recognition and treatment of tick-borne infections significantly decreases the risk of serious complications (See CDC ticks ).
The most common symptoms of tick-borne infections include fever and chills, aches and pains, rash, and fever of varying degrees. Although most tick-borne illnesses can be treated with antibiotics, they can be quite difficult to diagnose. Timely and proper removal of attached ticks can reduce the likelihood of a tick transmitting a tick-borne illness. See your doctor immediately if you have been bitten by a tick and if you experience any of the symptoms listed above.
How to properly remove an attached tick:
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
For more information, visit: http://dphhs.mt.gov/publichealth/cdepi/diseases/ticks