Local experts say number of tick bites, tick-borne diseases on the rise

Local News

(WKBN) – Now that warmer temperatures are here, tick season is also upon the Valley.

Billy McMahon, injury prevention coordinator at Akron Children’s Hospital, said ticks are not just found in wooded areas.

“It seems to be recently, because we’ve had warmer winters, that tick population is going into front yards, back yards,” McMahon said.

Since ticks are found closer to home, the number of bites are going up. According to the Center for Disease Control, there was a record number of nearly 60,000 tick-borne disease cases in 2017.

“At this point, because we’ve had consecutive years of tick population, and even mosquitos for that matter, be cautious if your children are playing out in the front yard, checking their clothes, checking their hair,” McMahon said. 

One of the most common diseases spread by ticks is Lyme Disease. There were over 200 confirmed cases in Ohio in 2017.

Pennsylvania leads the country with over 11,000 cases.

“They carry so much of the bacteria in their saliva, and if they are on there for too long, it has a greater chance of that infectious saliva being passed through the bloodstream,” McMahon said. 

One of the first signs of Lyme Disease is an area of redness spreading on the skin where the bite happened.

“If you suspect that your child has been bitten by a tick, or if you remove the tick, get them to their pediatricians as quickly as you can. Just make sure you got the infected area clean.”

McMahon also suggests keeping grass cut and checking pets for ticks if they are kept outside. 

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