Welcome back to our blog! Last time, we began looking at some of the most frequently asked questions pertaining to ticks and Lyme disease in Colorado and beyond. Ticks are commonly found in Colorado and carry and transmit numerous diseases to humans and animals, including Lyme disease. As Littleton’s trusted Lyme disease treatment chiropractor, we at Arne Wellness Center strive to keep our patients and readers informed about this common health condition. We also want you to know how to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your pets from ticks that transmit this disease in different regions of the globe. Education is the first defense against ticks and may help reduce your risk of becoming infected with Lyme disease, no matter where you are. Continue reading below to learn more about ticks and Lyme disease.
What Is the Life Cycle of a Tick?
Depending on the tick species, a tick generally passes through four stages of life over the course of two years: egg, larvae, nymph, and adult. A deer tick, the most common tick found in Colorado, mates in the fall and the eggs are deposited in a leaf litter in the spring. Larvae emerge from the litter in late summer, where they will begin searching for food sources on woodland floors and will often attach themselves to small rodents and birds. Once they feed, the larvae will feed a second time and molt into the nymph stage. The nymph will, again, seek out a small mammal host to feed on, and will drop from the host and molt into an adult tick. As such, ticks are highly active during the late spring and early summer, becoming active as early as March, and subsiding in activity by late July or early August. Keep in mind that ticks can remain active all year in areas with mild to temperate climates.
Where Do Ticks Live?
Tick habitats include wooded areas, fields with low-lying vegetation, brushy areas with dense foliage and shrubs, and along hiking and biking paths in grassy areas. So, anywhere you travel outdoors in Colorado, and in other areas outside of the state where ticks are prevalent, could be a potential tick habitat. One thing to keep in mind is that ticks stay close to their food sources, meaning they are commonly found in areas near large mammals such as livestock and wildlife found in different ecosystems throughout Colorado.
How Do I Remove a Tick?
Ticks have barbed mouths that enable them to attach on to their host and hold on tight while they feed on them. This is problematic for human and animal hosts, as it makes ticks very difficult to remove. Even when the tick is removed, remnants of their teeth may remain, leading to infection and irritation. Luckily, the Rocky Mountain wood tick, which is common to Colorado, has shorter mouthparts than other tick species, making them easier to remove. Here is how the Colorado State University Extension Tick Report suggests removing ticks:
- “Grasp the tick with blunt tweezers, as close to the skin as possible. If tweezers are not available and you must use your fingers, cover them with tissue or thin plastic to avoid the possible transmission of any disease organisms, such as tularemia, that the tick may harbor.
- Pull the tick slowly and steadily, straight away from the skin. Try not to crush the tick as you remove it.
- After the tick is removed, treat the feeding site with a disinfectant. Wash your hands when done.”
You should seek medical attention immediately following a tick bite. A physical exam, Lyme disease test, and early detection are the best ways to prevent the condition from entering into later phases where the disease will continue to develop and become more severe.
Contact Your Chiropractor
At Arne Wellness Center in Littleton, Dr. Arne is a Lyme-literate doctor with a keen knowledge and understanding of Lyme disease and the associated symptoms. If you would like to begin natural and effective Lyme disease treatments, contact Arne Wellness Center today to get started.