Lyme Disease and Why It’s so Scary

Author: Mosquito Squad of Greater Washington DC

For some people, catching Lyme disease seems as unlikely as winning the lottery. For those who live in big cities without lawns or natural bodies of water nearby, ticks can be a rare site. For homeowners with lawns, trees, and boggy wet areas, it isn’t uncommon to find a tick stuck onto their skin every few weeks. If gone unnoticed, ticks will latch on to a host, sucking their blood and potentially spreading their bacteria and diseases, including Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne disease. Untreated, Lyme disease can cause debilitating symptoms, leaving the person with paralysis and psychological changes.

How Ticks Find a Host

These creepy crawlers can’t fly or jump, but somehow manage to find their way to a host, searching for blood. How? Ticks like to climb out to the very edge of a branch or blade of grass, outstretch themselves, and simply wait until a host walks by and brushes up against them.

Once latched on, ticks will either start feasting right there or crawl around until they find a thin spot, like behind the ear or neck. Many times, people won’t feel a tick on them because they are so thin, light, and slow, and once they bite, they inject a numbing agent so you won’t even know they’re chowing down on your tasty blood. Sneaky!

What is Lyme Disease?

Like mosquitos, ticks have a natural tendency to carry viruses, bacteria and diseases, passing them on to others through bites. Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness, affecting over 30,000 people in the US each year. Lyme disease is caused by bacteria that ticks naturally harbor.

The early symptoms of Lyme disease include general flu-like symptoms, fatigue, headache, and the classic “bulls-eye” rash. However, not all Lyme disease victims present with a rash.

Lyme disease can be easily treated with antibiotics, but as the disease progresses, it becomes harder to treat and the symptoms become more severe. Untreated, Lyme disease can cause:

  • Psychological issues like memory loss and psychosis
  • Permanent muscle paralysis and numbness
  • Chronic pain and headache

Thankfully, the chance of actually getting Lyme disease from a single bite is very low (1 – 3 percent), but with repeated exposure, you’re putting yourself at risk.

Besides Lyme disease, ticks can cause dozens of debilitating infections, like:

  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Tularemia
  • Tick-borne meningoencephalitis
  • Tick paralysis

Mosquito Squad of Greater Washington DC’s Pledge

Mosquito Squad of Greater Washington DC isn’t here just for the sole sake of ridding your yard of pests – we want to keep your family safe and healthy. Whether it’s ticks, mosquitos, stink bugs, or other pests, we offer a huge variety of services that can help you take back your yard and have a safe and enjoyable summer.