Ticks - the harpoon-like family
Ticks are blood-feeding parasites from maggots family. They are most active in the spring and early summer (May - June) while during the hottest time of year they hide and appear again in autumn but in much smaller number. Ticks live approximately one year but they can live even longer, for about five years. Female ticks act like invaders more often then males because they must suck blood before laying eggs.
For developing and reproduction ticks need a meal of blood. Thus, ticks live as a parasites on hot blooded animals from time to time, and in rare occasions on humans. Ticks are not active parasites for they don't hunt a victim. They had small radius of moving, they do not jump or fly like mosquitoes - a victim must come to them.
Ticks love damply and shadow environment. They hide in bushes, on low plants and thickets, on the top of a stalk or sprig bush where wait still for a victim. When some animal or human touch a tick, tick hooks by its leg to skin and transfers to victim where it searches to a suitable place on the body to stab skin and suck a blood. Because ticks can be contaminated during feeding on forest animals they can transfer infection to human if they find themselves in tick's natural habit. Because of that ticks are carriers and also reservoirs of many diseases.
Ticks like to hide on a human body in places like armpit, under breast, around navel, groin, on a head and beyond ears. Children often play in grass, and because they are small they can pick up a tick with a head and by upper parts of a body much easier than adults.
From the moment of infection to the first symptoms of the disease eight to fourteen days may pass. The disease develops in two phases. The first phase has symptoms such as flu in 90 percent of patients. General weakness and feebleness, higher temperature, headache, vomiting and pain in whole body are the main symptoms. That phase lasts four to five days and after that a period without any symptom can last next ten days.
The second phase appears suddenly with high temperature, headache, vomiting and neck paralyse. Symptoms of brain covering (meninx) inflammation are more often than symptoms of a brain and spinal cord inflammation. Along with the symptoms of central nervous system inflammation, muscles weakness (especially of upper limbs), dizziness and sleepiness appear. Disease don't necessary had such kind of progress. It may have symptoms like in phase one, or start immediately with the symptoms of the second phase. Difficulty breathing, paralysis, delirium and other disorders of conscience (coma) are the worst possible scenario of tick bite.
When you walk through the wood avoid lying on a grass, unnecessary walking through the greenery and don't leave your clothes on the undergrowth. Don't wear fluffy clothes (wool or flannel). Wear bright coloured clothes with long sleeves, long hose and closed footwear. Use ticks repellent. When you are back home check if your child, you or pets have ticks' bites.
If you still got a tick, be calm. Ticks have a harpoon-like structure in their mouth. Use tweezers to grasp the tick near its head or mouth, and pull gently to remove the whole tick without crushing it. Do not smear a tick with any substance. That can cause tick convulsions and enhanced saliva excretion that can cause injection of higher amount of viruses and bacteria in your organism if the tick is infected. After you pull it gently out, wash your hands with soap and water and disinfect it. Do the same with the area around the tick's bite. Visit your doctor if you are not able to completely remove the tick or if you feel some of warning symptoms. ■
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