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Tick-Borne Diseases And When To See A Doctor

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Spring is in full swing, which means if you spend a lot of time outdoors, you are sure to find bugs, insects, and other creepy crawly things. While most of them are completely harmless, there are certain ones that cause disease. This includes a type of arachnid called a tick. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tick-borne illnesses are on the rise. Of course, not every tick bite will cause you to become sick. There are instances, however, when a tick bite might require a visit to the walk-in clinic.

Common Tick-Borne Diseases

Ticks are considered ectoparasites, which means they are external parasites that live on the blood of mammals, birds, and reptiles. If the host has a disease, the pathogens from the disease will get passed onto the tick as it is feeding on the host's blood. When the tick goes onto its next host, it can transmit the disease.

Some of the most common tick-borne diseases include:

  • Lyme disease
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)
  • Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness
  • Colorado Tick Fever
  • Babesiosis
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Anaplasmosis

Lyme disease has become especially common. This disease is spread by the blacklegged tick and the western blacklegged tick. Both of these kinds of ticks can be found in nearly half of all the counties in the United States. Other types of ticks that are known to carry disease include the American dog tick, the Rocky Mountain wood tick, and the brown dog tick.

Tick-Borne Disease Symptoms To Look For

If you find a tick stuck to your skin, you should pull it off using a tweezers. Once you've removed it, you'll want to wash the bite area, along with your hands, with either soap and water or rubbing alcohol. For the next few days, you'll also want to be aware of any symptoms you begin to have that may indicate you've been infected with a tick-borne disease:

  • Fever and chills
  • Headache or muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rash

If you do get a rash, it may indicate what type of tick-borne disease you have. For instance, if the rash looks like a bullseye, it means you probably have Lyme disease. Spots on your hands or forearms are a common symptom of RMSF. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should go to a walk-in clinic as soon as possible. Most tick-borne illnesses are treated with antibiotics. By treating the disease as soon as possible, you will lessen the chances ensuing complications. It should also be noted that some types of tick-borne diseases can be fatal.