Next time you are hiking Mission Peak, you may find yourself looking to deal with a tick bite. Ticks are common year-round, especially in the mountain ranges of California. If you would like to avoid the hassles of tick removal in your future, it is best you familiarize yourself with them, but also know what to do if you happen to find yourself in the presence of ticks.
Where are Ticks?
Ticks most commonly live in grassy areas, trees, shrubs, leaf piles, and other meadow-like areas, according to WebMD. They love pets and are attracted to humans. They move between both too, so a deer tick can transfer over to a human or vice versa with ease. If you have spent time outdoors, you have probably come across a tick or known someone that has had a tick bite.
Ticks are minuscule and they are bloodsuckers, so they will attach to your body in search of blood to eat. They can be as small as a pinhead or as large as an eraser on a pencil. They have eight legs, and they are related to spiders. There are different colors of ticks, ranging from black to reddish brown. When a tick drinks more blood, it will grow. After it has been feeding on a host for a few days or even weeks, it will change to a green or blue color.
Are Tick Bites Harmful?
In most cases, a tick bite is nothing that requires emergency care or even a hospital. Most of them are harmless, and you will not notice any symptoms, however, if you are allergic, you could have a reaction, or you may contract a disease that is passed by a tick to a human, such as Lyme Disease. These diseases are very dangerous and could be fatal if they are not treated properly.
Other conditions that are common from tick bites include Colorado Tick Fever, Tularemia, Ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. These diseases come from dead animals where the tick has drunk their blood; then it is transferred to the human when the tick attaches to them.
Identifying a Tick Bite
Ticks like warm, moist areas of the body, which is why they are typically found in the groin, armpits, and hair. Once there, they will bite and start drawing their blood.
Usually, the tick will become engorged after a few days and fall off, which is why many do not know they have a tick.
How to Remove a Tick
Tick removal can be done at home without a professional, but if you are allergic, you must see a physician immediately.
When you find a tick, you must remove it. You can do so by using a tick removal device or taking a set of tweezers to the tick. You will grasp onto the tick close to your skin and then pull it away. Do not bend or twist. If the tick’s head or mouth is in the bite, you will need to remove them too.