(WSMV) - It’s tick season in Middle Tennessee and according to the State Health Department, we’re seeing an increase in tick-borne illness.
Officials are seeing three diseases passed onto humans from a tick bite. Perhaps the most notorious being Lyme Disease, which can come with long-lasting health complications. According to state data, there were 127 reported cases of Lyme disease in Tennessee last year.
Another illness spread to humans by a tick bite is referred to as Ehrlichia, infecting 26 people last year.
Most concerning of all is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, by far the most common illness in the state, responsible for infecting 532 people last year, and another 770 the year prior.
State Deputy Epidemiologist, Dr. John Dunn says Tennessee has some of the most cases in the country of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. “We want people to know, if they have a fever in the summertime and they’ve been outside, and they know they had a tick on them, to see their medical provider and tell the provider about the tick bite.”
Dr. Dunn says all three illnesses have similar flu-like symptoms, along with a fever, body aches and in some cases a rash.
Medical experts with the Cleveland Clinic suggest taking the following preventative measures when going into the woods or after walking through thick brush during the spring and summer months:
- Wear bright colored clothing – making it easier to spot a tick on your clothes.
- Spray your body and your clothing with insect spray containing DEET.
- Remove your clothing when you get inside and throw it in the wash immediately – to prevent ticks from coming inside your home.
- Check your entire body for a small dark speck… including armpits, behind the ears, groin, hair and back.