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If you enjoy hiking and spending time doing outdoor activities, you’ve probably experienced a tick bite at some point in time. Ticks are commonly found throughout the United States and have been known to carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans. If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors this summer, know the symptoms of tick-related illnesses.
Tick Borne Diseases
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are several species of ticks found within the United States that can transmit the following diseases. Though many of the symptoms are similar across illnesses, it is important to contact a doctor immediately if you recognize these signs.
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: Spotty skin rash, muscle aches, headaches, fever, nausea and vomiting are commonly associated with RMSF. This illness can be very serious and even result in fatality.
- Tularemia: According to the Mayo Clinic, tularemia is indicated by a skin ulcer at the site of the tick bite. Lethargy and weakness, aches, fever and swollen lymph glands are other signs of the disease.
- Lyme Disease: A circular red rash surrounded by a red ring that can spread several inches in diameter is often found at the site of the tick bite. Joint and muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes, fever and exhaustion are other signs of the disease. If untreated, more severe problems can develop that include: facial droop, shooting pain, heart racing, meningitis, severe joint swelling.
- Anaplasmosis: Symptoms include: headache, muscle aches, chills and fever, nausea, lethargy and confusion.
- Babesiosis: People often do not develop symptoms of this disease, which attacks the body’s red blood cells. Symptoms do vary in severity and include: fever, aches, loss of appetite, tiredness, nausea, jaundice, dark urine. It can be fatal in people with weak immune systems.
- STARI: Also known as southern tick associated rash illness can cause a large red rash surrounded by a red ring, tiredness, aches and fever.
- Ehrlichiosis tularemia: Aches, fever and tiredness.
It is common for these diseases to develop several days or even weeks after the initial bite.
Reduce Your Likelihood of Getting Bitten by Ticks
Here are a few easy reminders that can help keep ticks away.
- Keep the grass in your front lawn and backyard cut short.
- Check yourself thoroughly after doing outdoor activities, including scalp.
- Check clothing and shoes for ticks before going in your house.
- Cut back overhanging branches or bushes that are close to your home or patio.
- Wear light-colored clothing if you’re going through heavily-wooded areas.
- If you have outdoor pets, treat them with anti-tick medication.
- Check your pets for ticks after going to the park.