Morning Rounds: The trouble with ticks

NORFOLK, Va. - Warmer weather signals the return of tick season and concerns about lyme disease.  News 3 medical expert Dr. Ryan Light explained how to avoid and treat illnesses related to tick bites.

What signs/ symptoms are associated with lyme disease?

* Fever/ chills

* Body ache or pains

"Continue observe the area of the bite for expanding redness," said Dr. Light.  "The lesion typically expands over a few days or weeks and can reach over 8 inches in diameter. If this occurs you should see a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment."

When should we seek medical care?

*If you can not completely remove the tick

*If the rash is getting bigger

*Development of flu-like signs or symptoms

*The bite site looks infected

*You think you were bitten by a deer tick

"If possible bring the tick to your appointment," said Dr. Light.

CDC: "Target" lesion on patient with Lyme disease.

Avoid Direct Contact with Ticks

* Avoid wooded and brush areas with high grass and leaf litter

* Walk in the center of trails

Repel Ticks on Skin and Clothing

* Use repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours.

* Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents, with products containing 0.5% permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has an online tool to help you select the repellent that is best for you and your family.

Find and Remove Ticks from Your Body

* Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within 2 hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.

* Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas.

* Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.

* Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs.

* Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors.

Can more serious diseases develop from tick bites?

"Rarely more serious diseases can manifest after a tick bite," said Dr. Light.

* The bite of the Lone-star tick which results in the development of an allergy to meat.

* The bite of a dog tick can lead paralysis if the tick is not removed.