If you are working outside, make sure to watch out for ticks.

If you are working outside, make sure to watch out for ticks.

In the United States, ticks are responsible for more human disease than any other insect.

“It seems like we are seeing more tick-borne illnesses this year,” said Karen Watts, infection control officer with Freeman Health System. “People are coming in with fevers, chills, aches, pains and sometimes they remember a tick, sometimes they don’t. We are seeing a lot of increase in the number of tick panels that the doctors are ordering and we are seeing an increase in the number of positive tests this year.”

According to the CDC’s website (www.cdc.gov), “Tick-borne pathogens can be passed to humans by the bite of infected ticks. Ticks can be infected with bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Some of the most common tick-borne diseases in the United States include: Lyme disease, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, anaplasmosis, Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness, Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever and tularemia.”

“Some of the tick-borne illnesses can have a rash associated with the disease such as Lyme disease, but really in our area, for our geographical area, we really don’t see Lyme disease,” Watts said. “The health department has called it ‘lyme-like illness.’ We are still seeing Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.”
The Neosho Daily News asked Watts some further questions about tick-borne illnesses.

NDN: So, if they are working out in the yard or the woods, and the person finds a tick on them, what should they do?
Watts: If you have some tweezers, you want to grasp the tick at the lowest point possible as close to the skin surface as possible and then, with just steady pressure, just pluck it off of your skin. It  (CDC website) says specifically to not use folk-lore remedies such as painting the tick with nail polish or put alcohol soaked cotton ball on top of it. The CDC explicitly says get the tick off of you, as soon as possible. Don’t wait for it to detach, because the longer that it is on your skin, the more potential for harmful organisms to cross.

NDN: Are tick-borne illnesses contagious?
Watts: No, it is not contagious. You get it simply by tick bites.

NDN: Are seed ticks worse than the regular type of ticks?
Watts: Most of the tick-borne illnesses are associated with the bigger ticks not the seed ticks.

NDN: Can someone actually die from tick-borne illnesses?
Watts: Tick-borne illnesses can lead to the need for dialysis and or ventilation, can cause multi-organ failure, septic shock, and even death. Ehrlichiosis is the most common tick-borne illness in this area, and can result in a pretty severe disease process

She also noted to look at the CDC’s website for more information.

According to information provided the Newton County Health Department in a press release,
“Carbon dioxide, which is exhaled while breathing, as well as heat and movement serve as stimuli for tick questing behavior. Using an insect repellent that contains DEET on your skin protects you because it interferes with ticks’ ability to locate you. Another repellant called permethrin, which is used on clothing, actually kills ticks (as well as mosquitoes and chiggers). Permethrin products are designed to bind with fabric and persist through launderings when used according to label directions.”