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Summer Safety: Preventing Against Tick-Borne Disease

Summary: Lyme disease often takes the forefront when considering tick-borne illnesses, but other tick-borne diseases can be equally dangerous.
Air Date: 6/20/14
Duration: 10
Host: Leigh Vinocur, MD
Guest Bio: Hans House, MD
Dr. Hans House is an emergency physician in Des Moines, IA. He has been a member of ACEP’s Board of Directors since 2011. Dr. House is the Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Chair for Education at the University of Iowa. He is also residency program director at the University of Iowa.
Summer Safety: Preventing Against Tick-Borne Disease
Summer is the time that people spend a lot of time outdoors. Of course, it is also the time when you're exposed to the threat of ticks.

Lyme disease often takes the forefront when considering tick-borne illnesses, but other tick-borne diseases can be equally dangerous.

For example, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever can be quite debilitating.

This disease comes from bacteria, but it acts like a virus. The infection causes high fever and rash. The rash actually appears like tiny bruises or bleeding under the skin. It starts in the hands and feet and moves inward. Lyme disease has a very specific rash as well, evidenced by a "bulls-eye," which appears where the tick bite actually occurred. The type of rash will give specific clues.

With Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, you may also experience muscle aches, neck stiffness and headaches. If not treated early on, it can spread to the central nervous system and lead to meningitis. The disease is treatable with antibiotics, but long-term side effects can occur if not addressed right away.

How can you protect yourself?

Prevention is key.

Make sure to wear long sleeves and pants if you're out in wooded, grassy areas. Check yourself and your loved ones for ticks right away after being outdoors. Unlike mosquito-borne illnesses which are transmitted instantaneously with a bite, it takes a while for a tick to transmit an illness; from several hours to even a full day.

So you have some time to inspect your body for the culprit.

Best way to remove a tick? Despite some of the techniques popular on the Internet, a good pair of tweezers is actually the best way.

Join Dr. Hans House and Dr. Leigh as they discuss tick-borne illnesses and ways you can protect yourself and your family members.
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