Health Team

Tick season may be worse this year

Posted June 25, 2008
Updated June 26, 2008

— Some experts say a mild winter has made this a particularly bad season for ticks and the diseases they spread.

Some tick-borne illnesses include Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Early treat treatment for tick-borne illness is effective, but receiving no treatment can be disabling or fatal.

Dave Tierney, who was diagnosed with Lyme Disease, preaches regular tick-checks.

“Store the tick and mark your calendar and if you get symptoms, go to a doctor. A lot of people just don't go to doctors. That's the wrong thing to do,” Tierney said.

Tierney said he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis more than two years ago because his symptoms at the time seemed to match the disease. He was suffering from fatigue, depression, anxiety, peripheral neuropathy and nerve issues.

Recently, a doctor diagnosed Tierney’s condition as Lyme disease, carried by deer ticks. He isn’t sure if he was bitten back home in Connecticut or when he was serving as a marine at Camp Lejeune.

Though Rocky Mountain spotted fever is more prevalent in North Carolina, Tierney believes Lyme Disease is under-diagnosed.

Tierney said he wants to make others more aware of all ticks.

“I can't feel him and you can't see him and …if it embeds itself and it's there for more than 24 hours, you can catch a tick-related disease,” he said.

At a recent visit to Umstead Park, Tierney spread a towel on the ground and after a minute of dragging it through the short grass snagged 10 ticks.

“This is just like your backyard grass. I mean, this is the grass you'd find in somebody's backyard up against the woods,” he said.

In tall grass, Tierney picked up about 40.


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  • momof3inNC Jun 27, 2008

    My husband and I both found ticks on us a few weeks ago. They were both still small and when I pulled the one off of me, there was just a red mark for a few days. Then when he found his the next day and pulled it off he had what looked like a rash. I don't think he has had any of the other symptoms except headaches, which he always gets so I don't know if that has anything to do with it or not. So this is my question, should he be tested for these diseases? I am also pregnant, should I tell my dr about this??

  • bcnc Jun 27, 2008

    As someone who has had both Lyme disease and Rocky Mt. Spotted fever, I can tell you these are nothing to play around with. Iget lots of ticks on me from my yard, my dogs, and being in the woods a lot. Four weeks ago I had the most painful headache you can imagine, also feelings of nausea, fever/chills, etc. No rash on attached tick, but have had several in past weeks. A trip to the urgent care center one night, and a blood test confirmed. Positive for R.M.S.F. so if you suspect this, GET A BLOOD TEST IMMEDIATELY.

  • Orange RN Jun 27, 2008

    Effective tick bite prevention includes:
    Wear a repellent such as DEET

    If you must enter a tick-infested area such as long grass
    -wear light colored clothes
    -tuck long pants into your socks,
    -tuck your shirt into your pants

    Ticks habit is to crawl upwards away from gravity. By tucking your clothes in this way, they stay on top of, not under, your clothes. Light colored clothes allow you to spot them faster.

    When you come in the house, do a thorough tick check. Don’t forget groin, underarms, neck, behind ears. They tend to stop and bite when they come to a ‘dead end’ in their upwards crawl.

  • Greyhound_Girl Jun 27, 2008

    Shadow213 - dogs do not have sweat glands, they perspire through their mouth. Humans perspire through their skin...the "frontline" would "sweat" off a human.

  • The Fox Jun 27, 2008

    [so why hasn't there been a "frontline" for humans yet?] I dunno but when I put Advantage on my cat, half gets on me.

  • Hank Jun 27, 2008

    We went to Jordan Lake eariler this year and I was amazed how bad they were.
    I was constantly pulling them off of my kids and me.

  • Shadow213 Jun 27, 2008

    Deb1003---good point! so why hasn't there been a "frontline" for humans yet? clearly we have the capabilty of creating a month-long tick repellent for animals, so you'd think we'd have something similar...

  • Deb1003 Jun 26, 2008

    Wish I could use my dog's Frontline against ticks. I've already found two on myself, neither embedded yet and one on my son. I'm diligent about checking us...seems this season, we all should be extra cautious.

  • capitalland Jun 26, 2008

    I have had numerous tick bites this year. I guess if it weren't for the Gin, I'd be dead by now.

  • bbad238 Jun 26, 2008

    If you had that rash you should go to the doctor right away!! Definitely not anything to play around with. That wasn't a spider it was a tick.