Fleas & Ticks: Not Just a Problem for Your Pet
Fleas and ticks aren’t picky. Both fleas and ticks normally live outdoors, but they can easily move inside by entering your home through open doors or windows, come in with you or your pets, enter your home on mice or rats, or even be carried in on items you bring inside. Once indoors, they may jump onto furniture, rugs or carpets to lay eggs. In no time flat, you may find you have a flea or tick infestation. You don’t even have to have pets.
More About Fleas
Most people with pets notice the telltale signs of fleas when their dogs or cats begin scratching more frequently, chewing on themselves or losing patches of fur. You can easily confirm the presence of fleas by combing your dog or cat with a narrow-tooth flea comb. Live fleas and eggs will be visible in the fur you comb out. While Fido may be the typical host for fleas, these pests are more than happy to use humans for a meal. Since the fleas often make themselves at home in your carpeting, you may recognize you have a problem when you suddenly find unexplained bites on your feet and ankles.
The most common symptom reported from flea bites are red, itchy areas, however fleas may also carry tapeworms that can be transmitted to dogs, cats and children, and they have been known to transmit Typhoid Fever and the Bubonic Plague, though these diseases are not common in our state.
More About Ticks
When the weather warms up, ticks also become very active. Ticks can come inside on your dogs or cats, or may attach themselves to you or your clothes. Ticks may transmit diseases such as Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever through their bites. Several types of ticks may be found in North Carolina, however not all of them carry the same potential diseases. If you find a tick that has attached to your skin, remove it carefully (see detailed instructions on how to remove a tick) ensuring you get the entire tick and wash the area with soap and water. If you see any signs of a bullseye rash at the bite location, or if you have any other symptoms, contact your doctor and let him/her know you were bitten by a tick.
Treating Fleas & Ticks
Treating a flea or tick infestation is normally a three-step approach, with the steps taking place at the same time. If you have pets, there are various treatment options available, with some being more effective than others. In our experience, a flea collar is the least effective option, while a systemic product provided by your veterinarian is the most effective. Your lawn should also be treated to prevent a reinfestation. Finally, you must treat the inside of your house with an insecticide to kill the fleas and ticks. We recommend washing your pet’s bedding and drying on high heat. You should also remove the vacuum bag (or empty canister contents into a bag and seal) after vacuuming the carpets and place it in the outdoor trash sealed in a plastic bag to ensure any live fleas or eggs are gone. After the inside of your home is treated, you should vacuum every three days for the next two weeks, discarding the vacuum bag each time. Read more about getting rid of fleas and ticks in your home.
Questions about fleas or ticks? Ask us!