What's Going Around: Ticks and other outdoor ailments

Louisville, KY - By Lori Lyle - bio | email
Posted by Sam Schreiber - e-mail

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - As the summer months roll along, you may be spending more time outside. However, with the great outdoors comes a tiny danger - ticks. Tick-related illnesses top this week's list of What's Going Around.

Dr. Jill Howell-Berg, a pediatrician in Clarksville, IN, says that the most common tick-related illnesses in the area are Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

A common symptom of Lyme disease is a red mark at the bite which then progresses to a ring, and finally a rash on other parts of the body. The person may also experience flu-like symptoms like headaches, fever, swollen glands, or fatigue. The treatment is antibiotics. Dr. Howell-Berg says that the chance of developing Lyme disease from a tick bite is about one percent.

As for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, look for a rash on the wrists and ankles which progresses to the palms and soles. As with Lyme disease, the patient may also experience flu-like symptoms, and the treatment is antibiotics.

Dr. Howell-Berg suggests that if you're headed to an area known to have ticks, take certain preventative measures. Use a bug spray that contains DEET. Also, wear long sleeves and tuck your pants into your socks. Finally, after any full day in the woods, do a full body check for ticks.

To remove a tick if bitten, use tweezers. Do not try to smother the tick or burn it off.

Ticks are hardly the only problems related to the outdoors, however. Dr. Jason Gunn says to watch out for allergy-related dry eyes.

The best treatment is lubrication. Dr. Gunn says that eye drops are okay, but you should avoid Visine, which is merely a quick fix. He also says to avoid antihistamines that may cause the eyes to dry out. You should opt for Claritin, Zyrtec or Allegra instead.

One final ailment common in the area is an upper respiratory infection. Symptoms include sinus congestion, headaches, ear pain, and sore throats. Dr. Christina Breit says to try over-the-counter Sudafed or sinus medication for 24 hours. If your condition does not improve, see your doctor.

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