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Your health: Ticks seem to be worse this year

"Ticks can cause Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Tularemia, Colorado Tick Fever, and Relapsing Fever." -DR. AARON.

Photos accompany this article

By Dr. Phil Aaron, M.D.
Medical Director, Dr. Phil Aaron Medical Center

Herbie's Ticks
Herbie Harrell has something that ticks like. As he has been checking the electric fence on his farm five miles out on Highway 61 from Columbia, he has had half a dozen deer ticks embedded in the skin of his head, arm and back. According to Herbie, "There seems to be more ticks this year. I check myself every time I come in from the woods or hayfields."

He has pulled several small deer ticks from his body. His skin swelled, then scabbed. "This area is drying up, but is still sore--some two weeks after I found the first tick," he said.


Herbie, who was at Houchens/IGA for 34 years in Columbia, now runs the Houchens store in Campbellsville. He loves the outdoors and "has to check on my small herd of cattle," even though checking puts him in the midst of ticks.

Ticks are found throughout the world and are members of the class Arachnida. They painlessly attach to their host to fee on blood. They can cause Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Tularemia, Colorado Tick Fever, and Relapsing Fever.

Ticks usually wait near the top of tall grasses and low bushes for people to brush against them. The first symptoms of a tick borne disease are nausea and vomiting, tiredness, ever, chills, lack of appetite and body aches. There may also be a rash. Other symptoms include headaches, muscle pains and stiff neck.

Common tick bite locations include the back of the knees, groin areas, ears, underarms, back of neck, and scalp. Be sure to wear shirts with long sleeves and long pants to prevent ticks from getting to the skin.

Ticks should be removed as soon as possible. To remove a tick, use fine tweezers to grab the tick by the head and pull. If a rash develops around the area where the tick was attached a health provider should be contacted. Most tick borne disease can treated with antibiotics.

Diseases transmitted by tick mites can be a serious disease if not treated properly.

Generally, a tick needs to be attached to your body for at least 24 hours before it can infect you. Pets can bring ticks into your home. Their skin and fur should be checked for ticks. It is important if you or your pets have been in areas that may harbor ticks to remove them as soon as possible. Ticks generally attach themselves to their host after one or two hours. so persons in tick infested areas should perform frequent checks of their clothing and body.

There are hard ticks, including dog ticks and deer ticks, and soft ticks. Hard ticks are associated with serious illnesses. They attach and feed painlessly. Blood is their only food. Soft ticks rarely attack human hosts in the United States. (PHOTO

Tick bites may cause nothing more than an itchy place that goes away within a few days unless there is a bacterial infection.

Some species of ticks produce a poison in their salivary gland which acts on the spine and brain and can cause paralysis. A tick must feed for several days before the symptoms develop. The paralysis begins 2 to 7 days after the tick begins feeding. Children are affected most often. Problems with breathing may occur and ventilatory support is required in some cases.

Herbie Harrell feels he is very lucky. Although he is still sore and has scabbed areas from the tick bites, he was able to remove the ticks and with antibiotics is slowly healing.


This story was posted on 2008-06-24 11:32:50
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Herbie Harrell: Feels lucky after suffering tick bites



2008-06-24 - Columbia, KY - Photo By Dr. Phil Aaron.
Popular Columbia supermarket manager Herbie Harrell has a small herd of cattle. Tending to them brought him into tick territory. He is almost over a battle with tick bites. He was able to remove the ticks, and took antibiotics in time to allow healing. It is tick season in Adair County. Added caution is suggested to prevent the bites; when they do happen, taking the right steps should prevent serious diseases from developing.

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Ticks: The bite and biter



2008-06-24 - Dr. Phil Aaron Medical Center - Photo Photo by Dr. Phil Aaron; drawing by DPAMC artist. TINY DEER TICKS can leave a bite which takes days to go away (right, photo). The ticks themselves are teensy, about the size of the clicker on a ballpoint pen. The drawing at right shows greatly enlarged detail.
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Ticks: Remove with fine tweezers



2008-06-24 - Dr. Phil Aaron Medical Center - Photo DPAMC staff drawing.
"Ticks should be removed as soon as possible. To remove a tick, use fine tweezers to grab the tick by the head and pull. If a rash develops around the area where the tick was attached a health provider should be contacted. Most tick borne disease can treated with antibiotics." -DR. PHIL AARON.

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