August 08, 2021
Ticks and mosquitoes, oh my! That must mean it’s summer time in Tennessee, right?
Those pesky little insects can cause quite a mess with a person’s immune system. From Lyme disease to Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, there are a lot of complications that can arise from tick bites.
The most common in Tennessee are Lyme disease and Ehrlichiosis.
Symptoms include fever/chills, aches and pains, distinctive rashes, especially with Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
With all tickborne diseases, patients can experience fever at varying degrees and time of onset.
Aches and pains can include headache, fatigue and muscle aches. With Lyme disease, you might experience joint pain.
Tickborne diseases can result in mild symptoms treatable at home to severe infections requiring hospitalization. Although easily treated with antibiotics, these diseases can be difficult for physicians to diagnose. However, early recognition and treatment of the infection decreases the risk of serious complications. So see your doctor immediately if you have been bitten by a tick and experience any of the symptoms previously described.
There are ways to prevent tick bites.
Before you go outdoors, know where to expect ticks. They live in grassy, bushy or wooded areas, or even on animals.
Treat clothing and gear with products containing .5 percent permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings.
Use repellants containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol or 2-undecanone. Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under three.
Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
Walk in the center of trails.
After you come in, check your clothing for ticks. Any ticks found should be removed. One piece of advice is to tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing. If clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended, as cold and medium temperature water does not kill ticks.
Examine gear and pets.
Show soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease and may be effective in reducing the risk of other tickborne diseases.
Conduct a full body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, including your own backyard. Check under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, back of the knees, in and around the hair, between the legs and around the waist.
Mosquitoes are also out in full force. Diseases that are spread to people by mosquitoes include the Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, dengue and malaria.
But the presence of mosquitoes can be mitigated with these recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control:
Mosquitoes generally lay eggs in standing water. Remove, turn over, cover or store equipment, remove debris from ditches, fill in ruts or other areas that collect standing water, remove tires, buckets, bottles and barrels that collect water and place drain holes in containers that collect water and cannot be discarded.
Keep mosquitoes outside by ensuring that doors and windows have screens and are kept closed when possible.
Provide Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent with one of these active ingredients: DEET, picaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the U.S.), IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD) or 2-undecanone.