PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As the weather gets warmer families spend a lot more time outside, and it’s important to start thinking about preventing tick bites and the diseases they transmit.
Experts say ticks are thriving across the country, and they’re on the move. Deer ticks, normally found in the Northeast, have made their way up to Maine and to the upper Midwest, while lone star ticks, usually found in the south, are moving north.
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness, but it’s not the only one. Annals of Internal Medicine released a new report saying a newly-recognized illness, borrelia miyamotoi disease, or BMD, is becoming more common in the Northeast.
“Fever, severe headache, lots of body aches. People can die from this,” explained Dr. Bobbi Pritt, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Clinical Parasitology Laboratory, who studies tick-borne diseases.
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Dr. Pritt said diagnosis can be tough since tick disease have similar symptoms. When spending time outdoors, long sleeves and pants tucked into socks are recommended, as well as utilizing insect repellant.
“Ticks are going to be at the edges of the path where there may be tall grasses,” said Dr. Pritt. “By staying in the middle of the path, that’s one way to just stay away from where ticks would be.”
Dean Traut is vigilant about protecting himself and his grandchildren after having Lyme disease, calling it “probably the worst illness or pain” he’s been through. He said it’s also important to have others check you for ticks.
“The deer tick is almost like a little freckle on your skin, so you just have to really watch and look for it,” said Traut’s wife, Judy.
Judy spotted a tick on her husband, and fortunately he was able to receive treatment right away.