Tick season is here and being aware of the steps you need to take when you are outside will help from being bitten.
Ticks are extremely annoying but their bites can be dangerous to you and your pets. Many people are not aware of the risk several tick borne disease can bring. Some can be debilitating and even fatal and tick populations are on the rise. Ticks are prevalent mostly in the Spring, Summer, and Fall in our area, but the tick season never really goes away with our temperate weather, according to Dr. Sloan Manning with Novant Health Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine.
Lyme Disease is the most common tick borne disease in the United States and is found in ticks in NC, but Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, RMSF, is the most common tick borne disease found here. Between 2008 and 2012 there have been 2000 reported cases of RMSF compared to 1600 reported cases of Lyme Disease. Some studies state that these numbers may be very low as people with mild cases and symptoms of these diseases appear flu like and may go unreported.
Symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Rash is a common sign of RMSF but it is not always recognizable. Here are some of the other symtoms:
- Nausea and possible vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Body aches
- Loss of appetite
It takes 2 to 14 days for symptoms to arise. Another interesting fact is that a tick usually has to be attached for several hours to transmit any disease it may be carrying. So being thorough and checking your person and pets after being outdoors is crucial to lowering possible risks from tick bites.
Here are some steps you control to risk exposure to ticks:
- Apply Deet containing insect repellent to skin skin.
- Wear long pants, long sleeve shirts, socks and boots when doing outdoor activities.
- Avoid wooded, grassy or damp areas or places where you might encounter deer or other mammals that may carry ticks.
- Take a bath or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors to wash off and more easily find ticks.
- Inspect your body using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body, including under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist and especially in the hair.
- Make sure your pets are treated with tick and flea protection.
If you have a home and property that are susceptible to the growing tick populations, talk to the authority in mosquito and tick control at Mosquito Squad. They offer a free quote and can offer a barrier spray plan that will eliminate these nasty creatures from your backyard.
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill