Beware of Ticks in East Alabama

School is out and most of us will be spending time outdoors. But, you need to be aware, Summer is also high season for ticks.

Here in East Alabama, ticks are right at home and that’s not a bug you want to mess with.

“Ticks are here in Alabama and you are at risk if you go outside, even if they spend time in your backyard. So, protective measures year round are important,” said Emily Merritt, Auburn University Research Associate at the School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences.

Ticks can carry Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Both diseases can be deadly if not treated right away.

“Fever, rash, nausea and vomiting are some of the symptoms. But, not all patients will have all the symptoms. A rash is the most common symptom, but some people might not even have the rash. So, the important thing is if you do get bit by a tick, be aware of your body. Look for rashes and contact a physician if you have those symptoms,” said Brooke Bailey, Director of Infection Control at East Alabama Medical Center.

Families, especially children, should take precautions when outdoors. And on’t forget that dogs can also carry these nasty bugs.

“Children that play outdoors are at high risk because they play in leaf piles, grass piles, in brush, so you want to make sure to check them when they come indoors,” said Merritt.

“Making sure you wear long clothing, long sleeves and pants, make sure you spray something with Deet on it, when you come out from wooded areas, take your clothes off, wash them in hot water and dry them and take a shower and inspect your body to make sure you don’t have tick bites on your body,” said Bailey.

37 confirmed cases of Lyme Disease in Alabama last year. 488 cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, according to the Alabama Department of School is out and most of us will be spending time outdoors. You need to be aware, Summer is also high season for ticks.

Here in East Alabama, ticks are right at home and, that’s not a bug you want to mess with.

“Ticks are here in Alabama and you are at risk if you go outside, even if they spend time in your backyard. So, protective measures year round are important,” said Emily Merritt, Auburn University Research Associate at the School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences.

Ticks can carry Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Both diseases can be deadly if not treated right away.

“Fever, rash, nausea and vomiting are some of the symptoms. But, not all patients will have all the symptoms. Rash is a more common symptom, but some people might not even have the rash. So, the important thing is if you do get bit by a tick, be aware of your body. Look for rashes and contact a physician if you have those symptoms,” said Brooke Bailey, Director of Infection Control at East Alabama Medical Center.

Families, especially children, should take precautions when outdoors. Don’t forget that dogs can also carry these nasty bugs.

“Children that play outdoors are at high risk because they play in leaf piles, grass piles, in brush, so you want to make sure to check them when they come indoors,” said Merritt.

“Making sure you wear long clothing, long sleeves and pants, make sure you spray something with Deet on it, when you come out from wooded areas, take your clothes off, wash them in hot water and dry them and take a shower and inspect your body to make sure you don’t have tick bites on your body,” said Bailey.

37 confirmed cases of Lyme Disease in Alabama last year. 488 cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health’s website.

That’s why Merritt is part of a research team at Auburn University to study this particular bug. They’ve already spent two years on the project and have about a year and a half to go. They are trying to grasp where these ticks are, the illnesses they carry and the risk they pose in Alabama.

“We primarily catch Lone Star ticks. There’s a lot of those in the pine and hardwood stands we sample, people’s backyards, we do catch a lot of black legged ticks in the Winter months during hunting season and they are the transmitters of Lyme Disease. Lone Star ticks transmit disease as well,” said Merritt.

So, always remember to check yourself and your kids for tick bites because, most of the time, you wont feel them bite.

Categories: Alabama News