A warm spring and more wet weather than we're used to having could be leading us to big trouble from a little pest!
I'm talking about ticks… and it's not just Lyme you need to worry about…
If you're not careful, these little blood suckers can pack a real POW, especially if you live in certain areas of the country (see below to discover which area has the greatest risk and what you can do to stay out of harm's way).
I’m sure some of you, by now have noticed the increased tick population. I know I have! What has caused such an increase since last year? Warmer yearly temperatures across the United States, accompanied by more rainfall than usual, plays a huge role in the increase of the tick population. Ticks love warm and damp environments! Unfortunately, in addition to the usual tick inconvenience, it's important to learn about the POW Virus and its implications.
What You Need To Know About The POW Virus
It’s no secret that ticks can transmit diseases to humans and their canine/feline companions. According to the CDC, there are numerous diseases that are contracted each year through tick bites. Click HERE to see the full list of tick related diseases in the United States.
Protection against ticks is more crucial than ever as there is an increased concern regarding the POW virus, otherwise known as ‘Powassan disease’. It was first reported in 1958, in Ontario, when a young boy died from inflammation of the brain. At the time of his death, the cause of the inflammation was unknown. Since that time, through years of medical research, the little boy’s cause of death now has a name – Powassan disease. This serious virus, as we know it today, is caused by a bite from a black-legged tick known as the deer tick.
To elaborate further on the POW virus, according to the CDC (The Center for Disease Control), this what is currently known about this virus.
“Powassan (POW) virus is transmitted to humans by infected ticks. Approximately 75 cases of POW virus disease were reported in the United States over the past 10 years. Most cases have occurred in the Northeast and Great Lakes region. Signs and symptoms of infection can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures, and memory loss. Long-term neurologic problems may occur. There is no specific treatment, but people with severe POW virus illnesses often need to be hospitalized to receive respiratory support, intravenous fluids, or medications to reduce swelling in the brain.” (source) **this information was last updated on 2/14/2017
Click HERE for the CDC’s statistics and map information for the POW virus.
Further Research Uncovers An Awful Truth
My research continued to uncover even more information about the sudden re emerging concern of the POW virus. I came across an article that further explains this rising concern. According to portions of an article posted by Cleveland 19 News on 5/2/2017:
“Powassan Virus, which is rarer and more deadly than the bacteria that causes Lyme, is now carried by the deer tick, which has a broad range and often bites humans. Until recently, the disease was borne only by a tick that does not bite humans, and the risk was all but non-existent.
There Is No Vaccine
There is no vaccine or specific treatment other than providing comfort, keeping patients hydrated and in the worst cases providing supportive therapy that will allow the immune system to resolve the illness before the patient dies.
The cause for concern is the recent proof that the deer tick now carries the virus. Discovered in the 1950s in Powassan, Ontario, until three decades ago, it was only carried by a tick that didn’t bite humans.
But with the jump to the deer tick, the spread may be inevitable. Studies of wildlife, who also can become infected, show Powassan increasing in New England and parts of the upper Midwest.”
Read their full article HERE.
Prevention Is Key
To protect yourself from being bitten, protection is key! In my article, 5 Natural Tick Repellents to Get Rid of Ticks NOW, I list 5 effective all natural tick repellent recipes for you, your dog, and your cat.
Tick related viruses can be prevented by applying effective tick repellent. The POW virus is not the only threat we face with tick bites.
There are other steps you can take to protect yourself. Here are some great tips (also from my article) to help keep yourself safe while exploring the outdoors:
- Wear panty hose under pants (yes, even guys!)
- Don’t walk in high grassy areas
- Keep your grass cut
- Don’t sit on logs – If you sit on a log for only five minutes, you raise your chance of getting bitten by 30%
- Wear hats when walking in the woods
- For Long Hair use tight (not loose) braids, pony tails or buns
- Wear clothing that covers the skin and has elastic on the wrist and ankles
- Wear boots or shoes that can be tightened at the ankles
- Tuck your pants into your socks
- Always walk in the center of trails when taking nature walks
- Shower within two hours of coming indoors
- Inspect your clothes and body, especially: under the arms, around the ears, inside the belly button, back of knees, and in your hair
In closing, I want to make one thing clear. I am not sharing this information to induce panic. I am sharing this knowledge to keep our loyal readers of Survival Life safe from ALL tick related viruses. Keeping you informed to ensure your safety is what we do here at Survival Life.
As always, enjoy the outdoors! Stay safe and always prepared!