Upstate doctors and vets say high tick season expected this summ - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate doctors and vets say high tick season expected this summer

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GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

"Some people are pretty horrified and they didn't even know it was there," said Upstate veterinarian, Dr. Stacey Logsdon.

Logsdon is talking about a tick - a pesky bug that can live off of a single blood supply and cause several types of disease, something this vet said she's seen a big increase in. 

"I've been seeing a lot of ticks within the last few months. I would say I've seen more ticks in the last few months than I've seen in the year or so," Dr. Logsdon said.

She said Greenville County has already seen about 50 cases of tick borne disease in our four-legged friends.

One mother said she was horrified when she pulled her two kids inside from play time and spotted a tick in children's hair.

"Sure enough a tick, right in the back of the head, and this one was deeper," Danielle Emde said. "We definitely dug it out with tweezers at the base like it says to, and it really concerned me...just very scary."

These critters, if attached for an extended period time, can cause a bacterial infection known as Lyme disease.

"You go hiking in the woods, you discover a tick, there's not a risk of Lyme disease," said Dr. David Brancati. "That tick has to be embedded into the skin for about 24 hours before it can transfer that bacteria."

Brancati's an emergency physician at Emergency MD in Greenville and explained what parents and their kids should look out for.

"It's a red rash - it looks just like a target," said Brancati. "Generally, if there's no rash, it's hard to pick up because it will seem like a mild flu, little bit of headache, little bit of fever." 

While the doctor said Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Fever can be treated at times with an antibiotic, there's another disease, nicknamed POW, that ticks can carry as well. Because it is viral, no antibiotics will help, but doctors also stress that it is very rare.

Dr. Brancati said there's only about seven cases reported per year. 

Veterinarians at Hillcrest Animal Hospital in Simpsonville explained that Lyme disease is the most common killer of dogs and more precautions need to taken than ever before to protect canines. 

"A lot of people assume heart worm prevention prevents fleas and also ticks," said Logsdon. "That is not the case. You need to add something extra to do the ticks." 

Doctors say to cover all exposed areas with clothing, check yourself after playing outside, or shower shortly after, and use bug repellents when outdoors. If an unwanted companion does burrow their way into your skin, Dr. Brancati said make sure you remove the tick from the head and remove the body entirely. 

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