The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has predicted this could be the worst ever season for tick-borne illness due, in large part, to a sharp rise in the tick population.
The population increase is on account of the relatively mild winter in the United States this year, which allowed for continued breeding of ticks during months where they are typically dormant.
“With the mild winter they are going to be more abundant,” Fort Worth Pest and Termite Services president Rodney Beaman said.
Beaman said his primary concern in North Texas would be for trail riders or runners, people who walk their dogs in the woods or those who hike or camp. He, and others, advise people who spend time in tall grass or in the woods check themselves for ticks as soon as they can.
According to the CDC, people should take special care to check these areas:
• Under the arms
• In and around the ears
• Inside the belly button
• Back of the knees
• In and around all head and body hair
• Between the legs
•Around the waist
Beaman said there are two common misconceptions he hears often about ticks.
“One is that if you have a tick on you or if you find one on your dog that you are automatically in danger of having Lyme disease. It is still very rare for that to occur," he said. "And two, that you have to remove that tick by burning it off. You can use tweezers or even a tissue and just pull it directly off of your skin.”
If you discover you have been bitten by a tick, you are encouraged to undergo a blood test to determine if you have been exposed to concerns like Lyme or other illnesses, like Powassan disease.
Early, common symptoms of both Lyme and Powassan can include fatigue, body aches and both can eventually lead to neurological damage, according to the CDC.
“If [you] come in contact with a tick it’s very important to get the blood test because prevention or treating before the symptoms [begin] is important,” Any Lab Test Now in Irving medical director Dr. Farhat Shaikh said.