It's that time of year again when we need to pay attention to ticks and their resulting tickborne diseases.
Ticks are usually seen in the spring and summer months and usually in woods or brushy areas. There are ways to prevent ticks from attaching to you such as avoiding those dense woodsy and brushy areas and using insect repellant containing DEET for skin and permethrin for clothing.
Regardless of the repellant you use and where you go, you should always check for ticks that have attached to your body every time you go inside from a day outdoors.
Even with preventative measures and tick checks, they can still manage to attach and cause health issues.
Here are six diseases carried by ticks and their symptoms to watch for.
Lyme disease is the most common tickborne disease in the United States. The ticks that can infect a person with Lyme disease include the deer/black-legged tick, the American dog tick, and the lone star tick.
The symptoms include a circular/oval rash that starts small and gets larger within the next few days or weeks after being bitten by an infected tick. Other symptoms include fever, headaches, stiff neck, body aches, and fatigue. In severe cases, some people may develop arthritis and nervous system damage.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
This disease is carried by the Rocky Mountain wood tick, the American dog tick, and the brown dog tick and can be fatal in North and South America.
The symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever include fever, rash, headaches, nausea, abdominal and muscle pain, loss of appetite, and sometimes an eye infection.
A tick or louse can transmit relapsing fever although both types are caused by the same species of bacteria. This type of disease is seen anywhere in the world were soft-bodied ticks are found and is most common on the western coast of the United States.
The symptoms are headaches, joint/muscle aches, nausea/vomiting, stiff neck, and sudden high fever, shaking, or chills.
This tickborne disease is carried by the deer tick and infects the red blood cells of the body. Babesiosis is most commonly found in the northeast and Upper Midwest of the United States, particularly New England, New York, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
In most cases, there are no symptoms to this disease, which is why it is very dangerous. In other cases, symptoms arise such as flu-like symptoms involving fever, chills, sweats, headaches, body aches, nausea, and fatigue. Babesiosis can also cause hemolytic anemia because it attacks red blood cells.
Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis
These two diseases are very similar and are caused by germs carried by the lone star tick. Ehrlichiosis is most commonly seen in the east to mid-Atlantic, southeastern, and south central states. Anaplasmosis is most commonly seen in the northeast and Upper Midwest states.
These diseases cause symptoms about five days after being bitten and infected and consist of fever, chills, headaches, muscle pain, nausea, fatigue, and a rash. Some cases have no symptoms or very mild symptoms.
This disease is also known as deerfly fever or rabbit fever and is carried by the dog tick, the wood tick, and the lone star tick. Health experts say this tickborne disease is widely under-recognized and underreported.
The symptoms include sudden fever, chills, headaches, diarrhea, muscle aches, joint pain, dry cough, and progressive weakness.
Every tickborne disease is a serious health issue and you can be infected almost anywhere in the United States. If you experience any of these symptoms and have been outside or notice you have a tick on your body, contact your doctor immediately for further examination and proper removal.
For more information about ticks and tickborne diseases, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.