Preparing for tick season with Discount Medical Supplies

Time is TICKing out – and not just to take advantage of Discount Medical Supplies special offers. In a few short weeks, during the warmer months of April through September, ticks will come out of the woodworks – and not the good kind, either, like Ben Edlund’s absurdist superhero, but more like the Ticks that terrorized Alfonso Ribeiro and Seth Green back in 1993. Overall, it pays off to take preventative steps against these bloodsucking ectoparasites all year long. Why? Because of tickborne (not to be confused with the Tichborne claimant) diseases.

Tickborne diseases in the United States include the following:

·         Anaplasmosis.

·         Babesiosis.

·         Ehrlichiosis.

·         Lyme disease.

·         Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

·         Colorado tick fever.

·         Heartland virus.

·         Powassan disease.

·         Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis.

·         Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI).

·         Tickborne relapsing fever.

·         Tularemia.

·         364D rickettsuiosis.

 You can add the recently discovered Borrelia mayonii and Borrelia miyamotoi infections – both related to Lyme disease. They are all as bad as they sound; common symptoms include:

·         Fever and chills.

·         Aches and pains.

·         Rash.

These diseases are transmitted when an infected tick bites a person. The first toward preventing tickborne diseases is to become acquainted with the enemy.

The Tickborne Identity


Geographical area

Diseases transmitted


American dog tick

·         East of the Rocky Mountains.

·         Limited areas on the Pacific Coast.

·         Tularemia.

·         Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

·         Highest risk of bites occurs in spring and summer.

·         Also known as wood ticks.

·         Adult females are most likely to bite humans.

Blacklegged tick

·         Northeastern and upper Midwestern United States.

·         Lyme disease.

·         Anaplasmosis.

·         Babesiosis.

·         Powassan disease.

·         Highest risk of bites occurs in spring, summer, and fall.

·         Adults may search for hosts whenever winter temperatures are above freezing.

·         Nymphs and adult females are most likely to bite humans.

Brown dog tick

·         Worldwide.

·         Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

·         Dogs are primary hosts.

·         May bite humans and other mammals.

Gulf Coast tick

·         Coastal areas of the U.S. along the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico.

·         Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis.

·         Larvae and nymphs feed on birds and small rodents.

·         Adults feed on deer and other fauna.

Lone star tick

·         Southeastern and eastern United States.

·         Ehrlichia chaffeensis.

·         Ehrlichia ewingii.

·         Tularemia.

·         STARI

·         Very aggressive.

·         Its saliva can be irritating.

·         Redness and discomfort at bite site do not necessarily indicate infection.

·         Nymph and adult females are most frequently bite humans and transmit disease.

Rocky Mountain wood tick

·         Rocky Mountain states and southwestern Canada from elevations of 4,000 to 10,500ft.

·         Rocky Mountain spotted fever. 

·         Colorado tick fever.

·         Tularemia. 

·         Adults feed mainly on large mammals.

·         Larvae and nymphs feed on small rodents.

Western blacklegged tick.

·         Along the Pacific coast of the U.S.

·         Anaplasmosis.

·         Lyme disease.

·         Nymphs often feed on lizards and other small animals.

·         Nymphs and adult females are most likely to bite humans.


The Tickborne Transmission

Ticks, very much like white men, can’t jump. They can’t fly either. What they do is outstretch their upper legs in a position called ‘questing,’ as they rest on the tips of grasses and shrubs. Unlike Mahomet, the tick will patiently wait for the mountain to come to it. Once a host brushes the spot where the tick is questing, it will attach to the host and look for a suitable biting site. Like a brood parasite bird that eats the eggs in a strange nest and leaves its own wretched offspring in their place, tick taketh blood from and – if infected – giveth disease to the host, by means of the following process:

·         Preparing to feed can take between 10 minutes and 2 hours, depending on the species.

·         When the tick finds a place to bite, it grasps the skin and cuts into the surface.

·         The tick introduces a feeding tube which may have barbs to keep the parasite in place. Some species secrete a substance similar to cement to hold in place during feeding.

·         The tick will sick blood slowly for several days. If the host has a bloodborne infection, the tick will ingest the pathogens which it can now transmit, for the rest of its natural life, to future hosts. Clearly, ticks are worst at repaying hospitality than Paris.


Preventing tick bites

On humans

·         Avoid direct contact with ticks in wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.

·         Walk in the center of trails when outdoors.

·         Use repellents with 20%-30% DEET on exposed skin and clothing. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.

·         Use products with permethrin 0.5% on clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents.

·         Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer.

On pets

·         Check pets for ticks every day, and especially when they have spent time outdoors.

·         If you find a tick on a dog*, remove it right away.

·         Ask a veterinarian to perform a tick check at each exam.

·         Talk to your veterinarian about tickborne diseases in your area.

·         Reduce tick habitat in your yard (see below).

·         Talk with your veterinarian about using tick preventives on your pet. 

·         Cats are very sensitive to a variety of chemicals. Do not apply insect acaricides or repellents to cats without consulting a veterinarian first.

In the yard

·         Remove leaf litter.

·         Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns.

·         Place a 3-feet wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas.

·         Stack wood neatly and in a dry area to discourage rodent-hosts.

·         Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees and in a sunny location.

·         Keep deer, raccoons, and stray dogs out of the yard with fences.

·         Remove old furniture, mattresses, trash and other tick-hiding places from the yard.

·         Mow the lawn and rake leaves frequently.

·         Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents that ticks feed on).

·         Check with local health or agricultural officials about the best time to apply acaricide in your area.

·         Identify rules and regulations related to pesticide application on residential properties.

·         Consider a professional pesticide company.


*Ticks on dogs can be killed with acaricides – dusts, impregnated collars, sprays, or topical treatments – or repelled with products that keep the tick from making contact with the dog or that have anti-feeding effect if the tick does come in contact with the dog. Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages.

Ticks on dogs





·         Helps reduce number of ticks in the environment.

·         Prevents tickborne disease.

·         Tick bites can cause a painful wound and may become infected.**

·         When bitten, a dog may become infected with a number of diseases.**


·         Prevents bite wounds and possible infections.

·         Prevents tickborne disease.

·         Will not lower the number of ticks in the environment.

**If the product enters the dog’s bloodstream and kills ticks after they bite, as opposed to killing the tick on contact.

Ticks are cagey little arachnids. They might be able to circumvent those preventive measures and latch on to your skin and feed on your blood wholly undetected. The smallest ticks can measure less than 2mm; additionally, they attach to hard-to-see spots like the groin and armpits, and can secrete small amounts of anesthetic saliva to numb the host to the bite. Therefore, finding and removal ticks in the first 24 hours (shout out to Jack Bauer) is essential to reduce the risk of tickborne disease infection.

Finding and removing ticks


·         Bathe or shower immediately after coming indoors – preferably within 2 hours.

·         Conduct a full-body tick search using a hand-held or full-length mirror to see all parts of your body when returning from tick-infested areas. Parents should check their children under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and in their hair.

·         Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, and attach to a person later, so examine pets, coats, and day packs.

·         Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for 1 hour to kill remaining ticks.


·         Grab the tick as close to the surface of the skin with fine-tipped tweezers.

·         Steadily and evenly, pull upward.

·         Twisting or jerking may break off the body of the tick but leave the mouth-parts in the skin. Should this occur, remove the mouth-parts with the tweezers. If unable to do this, leave the mouth alone and let the skin heal.

·         Clean the bite site and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water, after removing the tick.

·         Immerse the live tick in alcohol, place it in a sealed bag or container, wrap it tightly in tape, or flush it down the toilet, but never crush it between your fingers.

·         Avoid ‘painting’ the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, using heat to detach the tick from the skin, and other home remedies.

·         Do not wait for the tick to de-attach itself.

·         Tell a doctor about the bite if a rash develops in the following weeks after removing the tick.


Needless to say that the medical supplies needed to find and remove ticks are fully available at Discount Medical Supplies.

Related: DEET vs. DEET-free Insect Repellents: Zika experts explain!