Expert Health Articles

Flea and Tick Safety in the Summer

Ashley O’Flaherty, CMA

Blanchard Valley Medical Practices

Warmer weather and sunshine bring people outside for cookouts, swimming, hiking, and all-around fun. While enjoying the outdoors, we need to be mindful of those annoying little critters known as fleas and ticks. They can be harmful to humans as well as pets.

Fleas: A Nuisance to Humans & Animals

Fleas are very tiny insects that jump from host to host and can live on your animals. When your pet is outside, a flea may simply jump on it and stay there when the pet comes back inside. They then can multiply and bite not only the animal, but also humans. Some humans react more severely than others when it comes to bites on the skin. If not caught in time, this can cause a flea infestation. If you encounter a flea infestation, it is best you treat your animal with the appropriate treatment recommended by your veterinarian.

Clearing your house and pets of fleas can turn into a time-consuming experience, so plan to have the patience and resources as needed if this happens to you. Continuing to treat your pets year-round will help prevent the abundance of fleas in your house.

The Different Types of Ticks

Ticks are another nuisance during the summer when it comes to pets and humans. Ticks survive by biting their host and feeding on human and animal blood. There are several types of ticks in Ohio, such as the American dog tick, the black-legged tick, and the lone star tick. These can all be dangerous as they can transmit diseases to humans and pets.

Be Aware: Ticks Can Carry Disease

The main disease you can get from a tick is Lyme disease, which is carried by the black-legged tick. These ticks are known to live in wooded areas covered by brush. Lyme disease is usually described as involving a bulls-eye rash, followed by joint pain and flu-like symptoms. You should contact your medical provider as soon as possible if you notice these symptoms and have come into contact with a tick.

Most of the time, you do not even know a tick has attached to you unless you see it or feel it. Ticks attach to their host by using their head, and they burrow into the skin. Ticks can usually be removed easily. Remove the full body using tweezers and pull, making sure to get the head out, too. If the tick is a greyish color and looks to be full and round, chances are it has been attached for up to 36 hours.

Remember to keep an eye out for the above symptoms.