Prevent yourself from ticks

Published 7:00 am Saturday, June 9, 2018

Warmer temperatures lead to more activities outdoors which also means increased exposure to ticks and the illnesses associated with their bites.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ticks carry bacteria, viruses and parasites and tick-borne pathogens can be transmitted to humans by their bites.

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia Burgdorferi found in infected blacklegged ticks, the CDC website states.

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Jeff R. Buntin, nurse practitioner at Highland Community Hospital, said other common tick-borne diseases include Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness. The CDC states that more than 60 percent of the cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever occur in Arkansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

Ticks can bite any part of the human body but most often target the groin, armpits and scalp, the CDC states.

Buntin said the risk of infection is relatively minimal unless the tick has been on the human body for 24 hours or more, when the body becomes susceptible to the Lyme disease bacterium, he said.

He said 70 to 80 percent of those infected exhibit symptoms of migraines and a circular rash that typically has a bull’s eye like appearance. and requires immediate consultation of a health care provider.

Other symptoms include fatigue, muscle ache, joint pain and high fever, Buntin said.

Although the disease is not considered fatal, ignoring the symptoms can lead to long-term complications including severe arthritics, prolonged fatigue and potentially lead to certain types of heart disease, Buntin said.

It is important to take the necessary precautions when outdoors especially in areas with tall grass. After returning home have the scalp, back and neck area checked by a family member, Buntin said.