Tick season—we are in the thick of it and experts warn, this year is going to be an especially bad one! All it takes is a bite from a tick and that could do a lot of damage. The CDC reports hundreds of thousands of people get bitten by a tick each year and the areas in the U.S. that are considered to be high-risk for Lyme Disease has increased by more than 300 percent. But Lyme Disease is not the only thing you should be worried about when it comes to ticks.
As the temperature increases, so does the number of tick bites. “It felt like fire ants from head to toe,” said Darrow, who has a meat allergy. A tick bite sent Darrow to the emergency room. The tick bite caused Darrow to have a unique allergic reaction to meat. “They had no idea that two hours after eating a hamburger that in another two hours they’d be covered in hives,” said Scott Commins, MD, an Associate Professor of Medicine & Pediatrics at UNC Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology.
Ticks can also bring on other diseases, such as Bell’s palsy and the potentially fatal bacterial disease anaplasmosis. The CDC reports there has been a spike in cases of anaplasmosis. There were more than 6,000 cases in 2018, compared to 348 in the year 2000. So, what can you do to protect yourself? First, avoid areas with high grass and walk in the center of trails when hiking. Wearing light-colored clothing and tucking pants inside of your socks can make it easier to spot ticks before they slip underneath your clothes. When you come back indoors, put dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for ten minutes to kill ticks.
Your yard can also protect you against ticks. Make sure to trim shrubs, cut low-hanging tree branches, and rake leaves. You also want to check the plants you have in your yard. Studies have found a high number of ticks in invasive plants, such as Japanese barberry and bush honeysuckle.