Tick trouble before summer’s arrival

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Most of us are excited about a sunny, warm weekend, but higher temperatures are inviting ticks and the diseases they carry. But there are simple steps everyone can and should to prevent those diseases from transmitting.

Renee Toutant is a pet sitter who encounters ticks often.

"I'm really allergic, so I know immediately when I've been bitten by one," said Toutant, who goes on five dog walks a day, sometimes for as much as three miles.

However, the warmer weather is boosting tick trouble even before summer's arrival.

"I had a client send me a text. I had the puppy out in the backyard and she said hey the puppy came in and I found a tick crawling on it. And this was three weeks ago," said Toutant.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the past 20 years, the Lyme Disease threat has spiked 320 percent. A tick has to be embedded in the skin for 24 hours to transmit Lyme Disease.

Dr. Ryan Light said there are two things everyone can and should do to prevent contracting diseases, especially if you spend time in wooded or grassy areas.

"Check your skin after you`ve done those things. When you get in the shower, look, use a mirror so you can look at your back. Check your hair," said Dr. Light.

Don't forget to check the kiddos too. Once Lyme Disease is transmitted, a bullseye shape rash will appear.

"After that rash goes away, the disease doesn't go away if you didn`t get treated for it. The treatment for it is very easy. It's an antibiotic and easily tolerated and easily treated if it's found early enough," said Dr. Light.

Areas to be especially weary of ticks include vegetation from grass to a field, wooded areas or tall grass.

Dr. Light added ticks can be tiny, so you might not see them at first glance.