Beware Of Ticks And Lyme Disease This Season - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Beware Of Ticks And Lyme Disease This Season

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Despite a long, cold winter the Illinois Department of Natural Resources said the tick population is still thriving.

Health officials warn there could be a surge in the number of Lyme disease cases again this year in the Northern US and they predict tick-related illnesses will spike this spring, summer and fall in many parts of the country.

We're already seeing Lyme disease pop up around the QCA this season. A local veterinarian said she's already diagnosed 16 dogs with Lyme disease so far this year.

"Ticks are definitely out and active," said Dr. Christy Fields of Kimberly Pines Veterinary Hospital. "Ticks generally migrate toward the head, so checking around the neck and the ears is a good place to remove ticks right away."

Dr. Fields said giving your dog tick preventative medicine, starting in April is the best time to start.

But it's not just your pets that you have to worry about...

"As a veterinarian it's worrisome as far as pets, but it also scares me because if Lyme disease is in the area pets are picking it up, humans are getting it too," said Dr. Fields.

Just walking through tall grass, a tick could attach to your skin. IL-DNR suggests to wear light colored clothes to make it easier to spot ticks on your clothes and to wear long sleeves and long pants if you're going hiking or outside in the woods or brush.

It's something this outdoorsman practices everyday...

"Just being in this area right here, I could get a tick on me at any time," said President of the Quad City Audubon Society Dick Sayles.

Sayles is outside for over 40 hours a week gardening or birding. He said he gets a tick on him at least twice a week, but he's not afraid to be out in the wilderness.

"If you're prepared with the proper clothes, then get them before they embed, check yourself out before," said Sayles.

Anything with DEET in it helps repel ticks and always make sure you shower and check yourself for the parasites once you get home.

As this young hunter knows, Lyme disease is something you don't want to get.

"It's like the flu, but worse. It's about two weeks of horrible feeling and the best way to stay away from it is to check for ticks," said Cody Berg.

Cody Berg got the disease years ago, mushroom hunting, but it hasn't stopped him from turkey hunting or being outside.

"Now that I know it's around here, I check for it all the time," said Berg.

Dr. Fields said Lyme disease is often hard to detect on pets, because the symptoms vary from depression to fever, to nothing at all.

On humans, look for a bulls-eye type rash with a raised bump. This can be an indication that a tick was attached to you at one time.

The IL-DNR said to spray insect repellant down your shoes and pants to keep ticks away. Tucking your pant leg into your sock can also help them from attaching to your skin while hiking.

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