Ticks expected to be a big problem this year

Published: May. 15, 2019 at 6:05 PM EDT
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This year is supposed to be rough for ticks. Doctors are warning that because of the wet spring we have had so far, the conditions are perfect for them to be out.

"I have no doubt we are going to have a heavy tick season," said Dr. Thomas Rushton, an Infectious Diseases Specialist with St. Mary's Medical Center. "It is perfect for that. We know that eggs that we laid over the winter are really going to start hatching whenever we get those first rains, so right where we are right now."

Dr. Rushton says the weather is also helping the grass to grow and leaves are on the trees, which gives ticks something to hang onto.

Because this is going to be a bad tick season, doctors are urging you to check yourself, your kids and your pets anytime you come inside from being outdoors.

There are several places you should check when you are looking for ticks.

"You want to look at the nape of the hair, so wherever there is a hairline," Dr. Rushton said. "You want to look very closely because it may look like it's a little skin abrasion or a mole, but if it's a tick and you touch it. those legs are going to move. You may need a magnifying glass. You want to look at crevasses, so skin folds are also places where ticks would like to be. It does take some time for that tick to actually find a spot that she likes, bite and embed, so we want to remove all ticks within 24 hours."

Doctors say you should also check your clothes. When you go out, make sure you are using insect repellent. You can also wear light-colored clothing and long pants and shirts to keep them away from your skin.

Ali Shehl says now that she knows this tick season is going to be bad, she is going to be changing her routine with her family when they come in each day.

"Now that I know it's going to be bad, I am going to check my kids more," Shehl said. "We try to check Ruby every time she rolls around in the grass because we have found some on her before."

Although doctors say only about 10 percent of ticks carry diseases, you still need to be keeping an eye on any bite you get.

Two serious diseases that doctors watch for are Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Dr. Rushton says black-legged ticks, or deer ticks, are the ticks that spread Lyme Disease.

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