Black Legged Tick (Deer Tick)

Blacklegged ticks are a common species, and the primary vectors for Lyme disease. They can be found across the eastern half of the United States. More commonly known as deer ticks, adult blacklegged ticks have oval shaped, orange-black bodies and black legs. Before feeding, adult deer ticks are very small, between 1/16th and 1/8th of an inch in length. After taking a blood meal, both their size and their color change, and they become larger and more rust brown in color. Adult ticks and nymphs have 8 legs; their larva only has 6 legs. Deer ticks are arachnids — members of the spider family. Insects have only six legs, while arachnids have eight.

Deer ticks do not carry Lyme disease when hatched; they become carriers after feeding on common rodents. Black-legged deer ticks can survive a hard freeze. In fact, they get more active after the first frost. While you can’t see any tick in its larvae stage, you can see a deer tick in its nymph and adult stages. In the nymph stage, most ticks look like small, black specks or poppy seeds. All ticks, including deer ticks, favor dark, humid places, such as inside leaf and brush piles, under mulch, or in weed-heavy areas. Ticks can also live in shrubbery, ground cover, gardens or any other shaded area on your property; they generally don’t live in areas that get full sun.

Ticks carry a lot of different diseases, some of them serious. Usually, early treatment is your key to a full and fast recovery. That means you need to know what to look for if a tick bites you. When one gets on your body, it sets up camp. It finds a place to eat, then burrows its head into your skin and starts feeding. And it’ll stay there for several days. Most likely, you won’t feel anything because the bite doesn’t hurt, and it isn’t usually itchy. Because ticks are often very small, you might not see it either. At first, it might just look like a fleck of dirt. As it feeds though, it swells up and can be easier to find. You might get a small red bump where the tick bites you. Some people’s bodies react to ticks with 1 to 2 inches of redness around the bite. That red area won’t get any bigger, unless it’s really a rash which is a sign of disease.

Most tick bites cause only a minor reaction. Only sometimes do they transmit disease. Most people with Lyme disease get a rash, but not all of them. It shows up within 3-30 days after you were bitten –  you’ll see a round or oval area of redness around the bite. At first, it may look just like a reaction to the bite, but the rash gets bigger over days or even weeks. Typically, it reaches about 6 inches wide. It might feel warm, but it’s not usually painful or itchy. Most people think of the bull’s-eye rash when they hear about Lyme disease but this rash happens in less than half of the Lyme disease cases. If you find a tick attached to your skin, there’s no need to panic—the key is to remove the tick as soon as possible.

How to remove a tick:

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  4. Never crush a tick with your fingers.
  5. Avoid folklore remedies such as “painting” the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible–not waiting for it to detach.

Ticks must bite you to spread their germs. Once they attach to you, they will feed on your blood and can spread germs. A tick that is crawling on you but not attached could not have spread germs. However, if you have found a tick crawling on you, it’s a sign there may be others: do a careful tick check. Your risk for Lyme disease is very low if a tick has been attached for fewer than 36 hours. If you experience symptoms such as fever, achiness or a rash, see your doctor and ask for full-panel blood work (not just for Lyme disease) to help identify co-infections.

COVID Updates
  • Daily new cases in Pennsylvania:
  1. March 23rd, 2020 – there were 209 new cases
  2. April 4th, 2020 – there were 1,495 new cases
  3. May 9th, 2020 – there were 1,373 new cases
  4. June 7th, 2020 – there were 361 new cases
  5. July 22nd, 2020 – there were 836 new cases
  6. August 28th, 2020 – there were 854 new cases
  7. September 24th, 2020 – there were 1,025 new cases
  8. October 27th, 2020 – there were 2,274 new cases
  9. November 27th, 2020 – there were 7,846 new cases
  10. December 10th, 2020 –  there were 12,789 new cases
  11. January 12th, 2021 – there were 8,170 new cases
  12. February 3rd, 2021 – there were 3,343 new cases
  13. March 7th, 2021 – there were 3,223 new cases
  14. April 16th, 2021 – there were 5,097 new cases
  15. May 8th, 2021 – there were 1,270 new cases
  16. June 7th, 2021 – there were 297 new cases
  • There are 754 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. Of that number, 173 patients are in the intensive care unit with COVID-19.
  • Thirteen states have reached the Biden administration’s goal to vaccinate 70% of adults with at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by July 4, according to data published Monday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  1. Washington is the latest state to reach this threshold, joining California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.
  2. Overall, more than 171 million people – 51.6% of the total US population – have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine
  3. Nearly 140 million people – 42.1% of the population – are fully vaccinated
  4. Among the eligible population of those 12 and older, nearly half are fully vaccin
  • According to the CDC, as of Tuesday morning, June 8,
  1. Pennsylvania has administered first doses of vaccine to 59.6% of its entire population
  2. Pennsylvania ranks 9th among all 50 states for first doses administered by the percentage of the population.
  3. 55.9% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated while 72.3% have received their first dose.
  4. Pennsylvania ranks 5th among all 50 states for total doses administered.
  • Philadelphia is partnering with UPenn researchers to offer cash incentives to encourage getting the COVID-19 vaccine. The prizes, which includes six $50,000 payouts, can go to any vaccinated resident, whether you got your shot last December or just the week before the drawing.
  1. Privately funded: The prizes, which will total $400,000 over three drawings, are not coming from taxpayer dollars.
  2. Boosting equity: Half the winners in each of three drawings will come from a specially selected ZIP code that has low rates of vaccination.

Any city resident over 18 years old who’s gotten the vaccine is eligible to win, but you can register online (or call or text) to make sure your name is in the pot. Here’s everything you need to know about the “Philly Vax Sweepstakes.”

  • New research suggests that COVID-19 antibodies produced by mild infection may remain detectable for at least 11 months. “We’re looking at the source of these antibodies that are produced by cells that live in our bone marrow,” Ali Ellebedy, an associate professor at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine who contributed to the study told CNN on Wednesday.  “What we saw in people who have been infected even a year ago, those cells are stable in their bone marrows and they continue to produce antibodies over time,” Ellebedy added.
  • Since the U.S. pace of vaccinations began to decline sharply in mid-April, states and cities have started promotions like free beer in New Jersey and a raffle to win full-ride college scholarships in New York and Ohio. Several states have held lotteries awarding cash prizes of $1 million or more. Andy Slavitt, a White House virus adviser, has said the Biden administration was encouraging states to get creative — including lotteries or other financial incentives — to get people vaccinated. The federal government is allowing states to use certain federal relief funds to pay for those types of programs.
  • As part of its strategy to vaccinate more of its population, Washington State will allow adults to get a free marijuana joint when they receive a Covid-19 vaccination shot. The state’s liquor and cannabis board announced on Monday that the promotion, called “Joints for Jabs,” was effective immediately and would run through July 12. The board said it would allow participating marijuana retailers to provide customers who are 21 or older with a pre-rolled joint when they receive their first or second dose at an active vaccine clinic at the retail location. The promotion applies to only joints, and no other products, like edibles. So far in Washington, 58 percent of people have received at least one dose, and 49 percent are fully vaccinated, according to a New York Times database.
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US will start distributing 80 million Covid-19 vaccines internationally between now and the end of July.  On Monday, Blinken said that “about 75% of that first 25 million will be done in coordination with COVAX, the other 25% we’ll be able to do directly, making sure that we’re taking the account of the science and the needs, where there are surges, where there are variants, where some countries need second shots, and have a deficit.”
  • US passport holders have more international travel options now than at any point during the Covid-19 pandemic. Total US cases are nearing the 33.4 million mark since the pandemic started, but the rate has been slowing down a lot recently. The United States is one of the world leaders in vaccination rates and has been leading among nations with a population over 100 million. More of Europe is opening up to US leisure travelers in time for summer — especially the fully vaccinated. Click HERE to see the restrictions for a country you plan to travel to this summer.
  • Royal Caribbean International on Friday announced a change in its policy, saying vaccinations against the coronavirus will be optional for cruise ship passengers. “Guests are strongly recommended to set sail fully vaccinated, if they are eligible. Those who are unvaccinated or unable to verify vaccination will be required to undergo testing and follow other protocols, which will be announced at a later date,” the company said in its announcement. The move comes after Florida passed a law that will fine companies $5,000 each time they ask customers if they are vaccinated against the coronavirus, the Miami Herald reported.  Florida’s move to ban companies from requiring vaccinations shook the cruise industry, with the CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. saying it might avoid the state due to the decision.
  • Due in large part to the mass vaccination effort in the US, which has seen most adults aged 18 and older fully vaccinated against COVID-19, new polling now shows that two-thirds of US adults (66%) say their lives are either “somewhat” or “completely” returned to normal. This percentage is an overwhelming reversal from October polling, which found that only 9% of Americans at the time felt a sense of normalcy.


  • A new study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and their colleagues has found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, does not appear to pose a threat to the safety of the nation’s blood supply. After reviewing test results for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in thousands of blood donations across the country, researchers found no reason to alter the current blood donor screening practices that are in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Throughout the pandemic, having asthma was considered a risk factor for severe COVID-19. But new data show that people with asthma are relatively protected from severe COVID-19, said Geoffrey Chupp, MD, professor of medicine in the Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine (Yale-PCCSM) at Yale School of Medicine (YSM). It’s possible that some of the medications used for asthma helped to reduce the inflammation that COVID-19 causes, Chupp said. It’s also likely that the type of immune response most asthmatics have, the allergic response, protected them from severe lung damage, he added. “We looked at 8,000 hospital admissions of patients with COVID-19, and we found that the patients who were diagnosed with asthma – about 10% of the patients – were more likely to survive compared to those people who didn’t have asthma,” Chupp said


  • Stetson University, a private institution in Florida, is giving two undergraduate students full tuition for one year as part of a COVID-19 vaccination incentive program. Undergraduate students who provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 by July 25 will be eligible for a drawing to win one of two, one-year, full-tuition awards. Vaccinated undergraduate and graduate students will also be eligible to win a $1,000 award in one of eight weekly drawings Stetson is hosting between June 11 and July 30. To be eligible for the drawings students must be attending classes in-person and be enrolled full-time. Stetson’s goal is for 70-80 percent of its population to be vaccinated against COVID-19. As of Friday, 28 percent of members of the university community had reported to Stetson they were fully vaccinated.


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