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Five Tick-Borne Diseases That All Americans Should Aware Of July 5, 2017

Not too long ago, most people weren’t aware of Lyme disease. The scientific community didn’t even know that it was carried by ticks until the 1980’s, and it took many more years before the disease became common knowledge among the public. But that’s not the case anymore. These days, pretty much everyone knows about it, and it’s widely reported on by the media every year before and during tick season.

While that, of course, is a good thing, it’s gotten to the point where people automatically think of Lyme disease when they hear about ticks. But they probably can’t list any other tick-borne illnesses, or what their symptoms are. That’s unfortunate, because there so many kinds of diseases that are carried by ticks, and you should be aware of them all. The some of the most common that are found in North America include the following:

  1. Powassan Virus is often difficult to diagnose, and very few labs can test for it. Symptoms usually emerge between 1-3 weeks after being exposed, and initial symptoms include a headache, nausea, confusion, and fever. As conditions worsen, symptoms include seizures, impaired movement, and aphasia, which causes victims to lose the ability to comprehend language. 10% of people who are infected with Powassan die and 50% suffer from permanent mental effects.
  2. Colorado Tick Fever is typically found in the mountainous regions of the Western United States and Canada. Symptoms, which include light sensitivity, nausea, rash, fever, muscle pain, headaches, as well as swelling of the liver and spleen, often emerge within a week of exposure. After that, they often disappear before reemerging for a period of 1-3 days. This cycle of illness can go on for weeks, and increase in severity each time until the victim recovers.
  3. Tick-borne Relapsing Fever is similar to Colorado Tick Fever, in that symptoms can emerge and disappear several times before the victim recovers. Symptoms usually show up between five and fifteen days after being bitten, and include rashes, fever, chills, headaches, and muscle pain, and can go on for weeks if the disease is not treated.
  4. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is one of the most lethatick-bornene illnesses in the United States, and people throughout North America can be infected with it. It takes one to two weeks for symptoms to emerge, which include headache, vomiting, fever, muscle pain, loss of appetite, and inflammation in the salivary glands. Later symptoms include pink eye, joint pain, and confusion, as well as pink spotty rashes throughout the body.
  5. Tularemia, also known as Rabbit fever, has symptoms that typically show up within three to five days of exposure, and include fever, loss of appetite, and whole body weakness. Most notably, it can lead to sepsis and organ failure. For people who seek treatment, the survival rate is 99%, but drops to 93% when not treated.

Fortunately, these diseases have many symptoms in common, like fever, lethargy and muscle pain, nausea, and headaches. It’s safe to say that if you fall ill in the days or weeks following a tick bite, don’t assume it’s something innocuous like the flu. Seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

Additional Links:

Sick of Ticks: Take Brad Paisley’s Advice

A Major Lyme Disease Outbreak Is Coming; Here’s How You Can Protect Yourself

A Quick and Dirty Guide to Tick Removal and Prevention

Weird Science: Tick Bites Can Cause Red Meat Allergy

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published July 5th, 2017
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A Major Lyme Disease Outbreak Is Coming; Here’s How You Can Protect Yourself May 3, 2017

Lyme disease makes every trip to the outdoors a little less fun. The threat of this tick-borne pathogen forces us to take extra precautions every time we venture out into nature. Fortunately, Lyme disease mainly proliferates in a few specific regions of the country, such as the Northeast and the Great Lakes region. The majority of Americans only have to worry about the ticks themselves, and not the diseases they carry. There are still plenty of wilderness areas that lie just outside of Lyme disease hotspots.

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However, many of the places that everyone assumes are safe from this disease, may not be in the near future. In fact, we may be facing a massive Lyme disease outbreak this summer, and this event is probably going to spread the disease to areas surrounding the typical hotspots. And unfortunately, most of the people living in those areas have no idea.

That’s the determination of Dr. Richard Ostfeld, a disease ecologist who currently lives in New York. Ostfeld has found a unique way to tell if there’s about to be a major Lyme disease outbreak.  It has to do with how many acorns the forests are producing. The more acorns there are in a given season, the more ticks and Lyme disease there will be. Due to warmer weather conditions, there are a lot more acorns than usual.

So how could a floor of acorns two years ago tell Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York, that 2017 would see an outbreak of Lyme disease? It’s all down to what happens next.

A bumper crop of the seeds – “like you were walking on ball bearings” – comes along every two to five years in Millbrook. Crucially, these nutrient-packed meals swell the mouse population: “2016 was a real mouse plague of a year,” he says. And mouse plagues bring tick plagues.

Soon after hatching, young ticks start “questing” – grasping onto grasses or leaves with their hind legs and waving their forelegs, ready to hitch a ride on whatever passes by, usually a mouse.

Once on board, the feast begins. Just one mouse can carry hundreds of immature ticks in their post-larval nymph stage.

This is where the problems for us start. Mouse blood carries the Lyme-causing bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which passes to a tick’s gut as it feeds. The tick itself is unharmed, but each time it latches onto a new host to feed, the bacteria can move from its gut to the blood – including that of any human passers-by.

“We predict the mice population based on the acorns and we predict infected nymph ticks with the mice numbers. Each step has a one year lag,” Ostfeld says.

And this isn’t just a problem for New York. The number of Lyme disease cases is expected to climb throughout the United States and Europe over the next two years. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to avoid Lyme disease no matter where you live.

First, take a look at where this disease has popped up, and see if you live near any of the hotspots. Then look up how to properly remove ticks, and the measures you can take to avoid them in the first place. You should also learn the elusive symptoms of Lyme disease so you can seek medical treatment before the disease ravages your body. And finally, you can purchase natural bug repellents, which are perhaps your best defense against ticks.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published May 3rd, 2017
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