Do Ticks Die in the Winter? Lyme Disease and Cold Weather

persons hands holding a container with a tick

You may have heard to be on the lookout for ticks while outside during the spring and summer months. This is because the warmer months help to create the ideal environment for ticks to thrive in. But just like humans make it through the seasonal changes, so do many of the creatures that call this planet home – including ticks.

Most people don’t worry about ticks in the wintertime. In fact, a common misconception is that these little bloodsuckers die off in the winter along with mosquitos and other pests. However, this is not the case at all. Whether or not the tick population dwindles or dies off depends a lot on the temperature. That being said, you should still be cautious of ticks in the winter months.

So, do ticks die in the winter? Or more importantly, can you get Lyme disease from ticks in the winter?

Has Lyme disease created complications in your life? Schedule an appointment with a Lyme-Educated provider at Newbridge Health & Wellness today.

What Happens to Ticks in the Winter?

As mentioned, just as humans have learned to adapt and survive in winter, so have ticks. Even though you’re less likely to get bitten by a tick in the colder months, be aware that ticks are still out and about, though not quite as active as they are in the warmer months.

Laboratory studies have shown that some ticks can stay alive even in temperatures below freezing, though most species tend to die between -2 and 14 degrees Fahrenheit. And it’s good to remember that the blacklegged tick – which causes Lyme disease – will be active as long as the temperature is above freezing. These ticks tend to look for food sources right before the onset of colder temperatures, usually around the first frost of the season.

In addition, the winter tick is aptly named because the eggs hatch in the late summer and they tend to be most active in the cooler months. They are most commonly found on moose or deer in the northeastern region of North America.

The main thing to remember is that yes, ticks are present even in the colder months. And as long as the temperature is above freezing and there is no ice on the ground, you are still at risk for tick bites and infections that cause Lyme disease.

Where are Ticks That Carry Lyme Disease Most Commonly Found?

The empire of Lyme disease-carrying ticks has slowly been expanding over the years. And many scientists believe that warmer temperatures have allowed these ticks to spread into regions where they weren’t typically found before.

Lyme disease is caused by the following types of ticks in the United States:

  • Ixodes scapularis – the blacklegged tick: Commonly found in the northeastern United States and the upper midwestern United States
  • Ixodes pacificus – the western blacklegged tick: Commonly found along the Pacific coast

Blacklegged ticks are typically small (about the size of a sesame seed), reddish brown though sometimes may be a brighter shade of red, and are usually flat and oval-shaped. Both blacklegged ticks found in the United States are most active in the early spring and fall seasons. However, people are most often bitten by these ticks in the fall months when more ground cover is available for the ticks to move around and hide in – such as in large piles of leaves.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Lyme Disease?

While you may notice a tick on you, this doesn’t mean it’s time to panic. Not all tick bites cause Lyme disease. However, there are a few telltale signs to look for to tell if you’ve developed this condition.

A key indicator of Lyme disease caused by a tick bite is the appearance of an erythema migrans (EM) rash which is typically a bright red, ringed area around the tick bite that will slowly expand. This is usually a common indicator of Lyme disease in about 70 to 80 percent of those infected – and it can appear anywhere between 3 to 30 days after being bitten, though within one week is most common.

The Erythema migrans usually appear like a bull’s eye and may be warm to the touch, itchy, or painful. And if you notice this rash, it’s time to go see a Lyme-educated provider.

In addition to a rash, the following signs and symptoms may also be present:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain
  • Nerve pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Dizziness or shortness of breath
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Irritability
  • Meningitis

It’s important to know that Lyme disease can occur in the absence of any of these symptoms, and usually doesn’t just “go away” on its own. And if left untreated, this disease can lead to serious complications such as facial paralysis, chronic inflammation, difficulty concentrating, or complications with the heart and nervous system.

If you have been bitten by a tick, it’s important to make an appointment immediately, even if you haven’t developed symptoms of Lyme. Call Newbridge for a Tick Bite Immediate Care appointment.

If a person pulls a tick off their body, the tick should be saved in a Ziplock bag and sent to a credible lab for testing. Visit this informative website for more information, and to learn how to get a tick tested for Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses.

How is Lyme Disease Treated?

While antibiotics may be a part of a treatment regimen for Lyme disease, a functional and integrative approach offers a holistic method for the treatment of Lyme disease. This may include serological and molecular testing, and treatments that may be used to support the health of your whole body.

Diet and Nutrition

Nutrition helps to form the basic building blocks of health. And if you’ve contracted Lyme disease, optimizing your nutritional intake by implementing an anti-inflammatory diet can work to support immune function and decrease inflammation throughout the body.

In addition to reducing inflammation, healing the gut can also be a helpful method in the treatment of Lyme disease as the infection from a tick bite can disrupt your gut microbiome, thus causing an inflammatory response in the body.

Herbs and Supplements

Herbs that are known to suppress pathogens can be of great benefit in the place of traditional antibiotics which target both helpful and pathogenic bacteria. In addition, the use of herbs and supplements can offer immune and biochemical support which may result in your body’s ability to heal itself.

Ozone Therapy

Ozone therapy is used to treat a variety of medical conditions and has had a significant effect in the treatment of Lyme disease. This therapy helps to improve mitochondrial and immune function and has a high antimicrobial quality. As such, late-stage Lyme disease may include many symptoms that ozone therapy can be helpful in alleviating.

Overall, other methods such as Low Dose Immunotherapy, Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT), Craniobiotic Technique (CBT), and Photobiotic Light Therapy may also be options that your practitioner may recommend for the treatment of Lyme disease.

Treating Lyme Disease with Functional Medicine at Newbridge Health & Wellness

At Newbridge Health & Wellness, we take an integrative and holistic approach to treating patients with complex illnesses. And with years of experience in treating Lyme disease through the practice of functional medicine, our team of practitioners has the knowledge and expertise to help you meet your health goals and alleviate your symptoms – whether you’ve just contracted Lyme disease or if you’re in the later stages of the infection.

Lyme disease can be a debilitating condition. And though it’s rare for Lyme disease to result in death, the conditions that can manifest in late-stage Lyme disease can become extremely challenging. However, with our expertise, we can assess your condition and offer you the best pathway of treatment toward recovery.

Curious if functional medicine can help you recover from Lyme disease? Contact Newbridge Health & Wellness today and talk to a functional medicine expert.