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Keep That Tick!

Updated: Jan 14


It’s high tick season and ticks account for about 50% of all our Summer Hazards quiz curriculum. We teach how to avoid them, how to remove them, and even exactly why the New York Times recommends that “consenting adults” perform reciprocal tick checks.

Click to view and download a PDF version to share with friends and employees.

4 Facts You and Your Employees Need to Know:

  1. Cases of Lyme disease have increased by 320% since 1990.

  2. Lyme Disease is both overdiagnosed and underdiagnosed, possibly more than any other disease. These misses can and do lead to treatments that fail and may even exacerbate a patient’s condition.

  3. Ticks have been linked to carry over 15 additional illnesses Including ‘Tickborne relapsing fever’, which is associated with sleeping in rustic cabins and vacation homes. Prevalence of the various diseases seems to vary with geography, but few places in the US are untouched. Some diseases are viral, some are bacterial, and a treatment for one may not work for another, or may even make it worse. This of course assumes that the disease is diagnosed correctly in the first place.

  4. There are 300,000 diagnosed cases of Lyme Disease. Comparatively, there are only about 150,000 heart attacks per year (in the commercially insured population). In about 20 states, your employees face more risk of Lyme Disease than getting a heart attack.

Our advice? Keep that tick.

Merely checking for and removing ticks is not enough. If you find a tick, don’t throw it away! Put it in a container or jar and bring it with you to the doctor to get tested if unexplained symptoms develop.

Why is keeping the tick important?

There are many different ticks, and they can carry many different diseases. Seeing the tick, and the stage of development of the tick, is helpful in making the diagnosis, or in making a “differential diagnosis” between two or more possibilities. It is easier to find the pathogen in the tick than in your blood.

2 cautions:

  1. Don’t wait for results if you already have symptoms. The tick-testing should be a confirming test, not the first test.

  2. Conversely, don’t send every tick you pull off to a lab. That could get very expensive very fast. Most tick bites are harmless and unnoticed. Wait until you have symptoms.

Why does Quizzify recommend this advice for wellness?

  • It requires very little behavior change. Simply not flushing a tick down the toilet is all that is required.

  • It is easy to remember and apply.

  • It is not widely known at all. Even UpToDate, in its writeup for doctors, doesn’t mention keeping the tick. It instead recommends “describing” the tick. (This is likely because the doctor sees the patient after the bite.)

  • It is not easily forgotten.

Quizzify brings health literacy into the workforce. Knowing about tick safety is a prime example of practical knowledge, which can have a big impact on an employee's health.

Learn more about Quizzify's Summer Hazards curriculum here.