As the weather gets warmer the bugs come out. And some of them are carrying some nasty diseases. I know after the year that everyone has had, we are looking forward to letting the kids go to summer camp, hitting the lake, and hiking or camping somewhere in our beautiful state. But one is on the rise. The CDC identifies tick-borne diseases as a public health threat. For our area, the larger the population of deer, rabbits and other small animals there are, the larger the tick population. Common tick-borne diseases in Arkansas are Lyme disease, Tularemia, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Lyme disease is the most common. The bacteria that cause it attacks your nervous system and possibly your heart, liver, eyes, and joints as well. At first you may feel like you have the flu. You also may notice a skin rash that starts near the tick bite. Ticks like to live in grass, bushes, or leaf piles. They grab onto you as you walk by, find bare skin, and dig in. When you’re outdoors stay away from tall grass and stick to the middle of a trail, wear long pants, and tuck them into white sock so you can see ticks. Look carefully for ticks when you get back inside. The best way to avoid getting tick-borne diseases is to prevent tick bites. Use bug repellent when going outside in areas where ticks are common. If you find a tick attached to your skin, remove it right away with tweezers. Wash the affected area with warm water often till the rash subsides and apply petroleum jelly to reduce itching. If your symptoms worsen, see a doctor. Summer is a fun time of the year but remember to stay safe by preventing tick bites.
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