CDC Predicts More Tick-Borne Illnesses This Year


Eric Galatas, WYOMING NEWS SERVICE – After a weekend outdoors, you may want to check yourself, your kids and pets for ticks. The CDC is predicting an increase in ticks and the diseases they carry this summer because of a warmer winter.

Experts say in most cases if you can remove the tick within 36 hours of a bite, you’re protected from any illness.

Dr. Donald Bucklin, the medical director of U.S. Healthworks says removing the insect is simple.

“The first thing to do if you find a tick is remove it,” he says. “And you don’t have to light it on fire. Just grab it with a pair of tweezers or a pair of pliers, needle-nose pliers, and just pull up. You have to give them a little tug to pull them off, because they’re happy. They want to stay there.”

If you suspect the tick has been on the skin for more than 36 hours, you’re advised to call your doctor who may prescribe preventive medicine in case it was carrying a disease. Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever are common illnesses transmitted by ticks, but doctors are seeing a new, more serious illness, Powassan. Powassan is rare, but is fatal to 15 percent of the people who get it.

Bucklin says prevention is the best measure.

“Ticks are completely avoidable,” he adds. “If you aren’t brushing up against tall grass and stuff, you’re not going to get a tick. So it’s very avoidable and it’s worth buying a bottle of DEET and using it on your pants and stuff before you go out hiking.”

Long pants and long-sleeved shirts can help keep ticks from reaching the skin, and wearing light-colored clothing can make it easier to find any hitch-hikers.

To protect your pets, you may consider a tick collar or a flea and tick preventive medication. Dogs are more susceptible to tick bites than are other animals.