Just about the time we get all ready for summer outings, here comes bad news….Bugs! The first segment of this article originally appeared on SafetyXChange.org, written by Catherine Jones, and is used with permission from the copyright holder, Bongarde Media. Ms. Jones shared some interesting facts about a little, but well-known bothersome critter. The second installment came from last night’s news – another worry especially for our friends up north and in the midwest.
Question: What can:
- Jump 150 times its own length;
- Consume 15 times its own body weight in blood every day;
- Lie dormant – without food – for several months;
- Reproduce within 36 to 48 hours after its first meal; and
- Transmit two types of bubonic plague?
Answer: The tiny but mighty flea.
As temperatures rise, so does the possibility of flea infestations. These little blood-suckers not only torment your cats and dogs, they also pose a health concern to your human family members. To see if you have fleas in your home, take a walk through the house in white socks and watch for the 1/25-1/4 inch cling-ons. If you see just one flea, chances are there are more than 100 of its friends and relations nearby. To rid your home of fleas:
- Thoroughly wash your pet’s bedding. Better still, throw it out.
- Talk to your vet about safely treating your pet for fleas.
- Prevent re-infestation by using a flea control program in your garage, porch and yard.
- Thoroughly vacuum your carpets, rugs, floors and baseboards
- Place the used vacuum bag in an airtight plastic bag and get it into the outdoor trashcan immediately.
Next, just as summer is here, we have a new disease to worry about, (at least I’ve never heard of it): babesiosis. The black-legged deer tick sometimes carries the parasite and can cause babesiosis, rather than lyme disease, which other ticks may carry. These tiny, poppy-seed sized ticks are affecting pets and people who live in the North Eastern and upper Midwest states. Their bite will not leave a rash, so it is not as easy to detect as bites from other critters. It usually must stay attached 24-36 hours to transmit the parasite. According to the Centers for Disease Control, this can be dangerous, especially for those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms are similar to flu.
If you plan to go outdoors in grassy areas, please take the following precautions:
- Walk in the center of trails that are already cleared.
- Stay away from tick habitats, if possible.
- Wear socks, long pants, long-sleeved shirts.
- Apply repellents to skin and clothing.
- Read instructions on the proper way to use repellents on children.
- Check your pets and clothing before you return indoors.
If you find one of this type of tick, remove it with tweezers, and try to keep it alive, in order to take to the doctor’s office to be checked out. If the diagnosis shows babesiosis, effective treatments are available and most always successful.
Summer is no fun without outings. Don’t get “ticked off”! There are so many ways to protect yourself and your pets, you should be able to get out there and stay “bug-free”!