Written by Jessica Welch, Policy & Public Information Officer, BOCC Wednesday, 18 April 2012 12:16
Wakulla County—Ticks love our springs and summers and return to the business of spreading diseases during our beautiful weather.Because it is the start of the active seasons for disease-carrying ticks in Florida, we need to take precautions to protect ourselves and our pets. Florida ticks carry diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Ehrlichiosis. It can take a month or more to show symptoms of one of these diseases, so be alert if you are exposed to a tick.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), typical symptoms include fever, chills, aches, pains and rashes. Tickborne diseases can result in mild symptoms treatable at home or 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 described here.
“Ticks are more active during the spring and summer,” said Padraic Juarez, MS REHS, Administrator of the Wakulla County Health Department. “When we are out enjoying nature in the warm weather, we are more likely to be exposed to feeding ticks. Though rare, cases of tick-borne disease have been detected in Florida through our surveillance systems, so please take the precautions recommended below now.”
Tick-Borne Disease Precautions
Avoidance is the best way to keep from getting ill. Landscape your yard to reduce the number of ticks present. To see how you can control ticks in your yard visit http://www.cdc.gov.
If you find a tick on you or your pet, remove it right away with a pair of fine-tipped tweezers:
Grasp the tick as close to the surface of the skin as possible.
Pull upward with a steady, even motion without squeezing or crushing the tick.
After removing and disposing of the tick, clean the bite site and wash hands well with soap and hot water.
Avoid folklore remedies such as "painting" the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible--not waiting for it to detach.
|Tweezers grasping a tick
close to the skin's surface.
|Tweezers pulling a tick away from the skin
in an upward motion.
Most tick bites do not result in illness, so treatment is not recommended unless a person becomes ill. If you do develop an illness with a fever or rash within one month of being bitten by a tick or after spending time in tick habitat, seek medical care right away and tell your health care provider you may have been exposed to ticks. Delays in treatment can result in more serious illness.
For more information on tick-borne illnesses and current surveillance information, visit http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/Tick_Borne_Diseases/Tick_Index.htm or call the Wakulla County Health Department at 850-926-0400.
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