By Dr. Lindsay Albanese (proud winner of DE Women’s Hall of Fame, “She’s On Her Way” award)
Living in Delaware, we are all too familiar that tick season is upon us. But some of us may not know these small little creatures can have a mighty bite to them. Not only do ticks cause the itchy rash from the bite itself, but they can carry a host of diseases leading to long term health problems. The most commonly known disease is Lyme disease. But there are a host of other diseases ticks can transmit to humans including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis, Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness, and even can cause allergies to eating meat protein (alpha-gal syndrome).
According to the CDC, certain tick-borne illnesses have been on the rise. Certainly, the warmer weather has allowed ticks to survive longer and have shorter life cycles allowing them to reproduce faster. In addition, more people are moving into areas where ticks and the deer they live on inhabit.
But don’t let these little ticks keep you from having your outdoor fun. Many people may not know that if you are bitten by a deer tick, you can get antibiotics to prevent you from getting Lyme disease. Ashley Heisey, a physician assistant who works in the Atracare walk-in in Lewes, is all too familiar with tick bites. “One thing I would love my patients to know is that you can get antibiotics not only to treat Lyme but also for prophylaxis of Lyme after you remove a tick”.
So if you think the tick is a deer tick, it was attached for 36 hours, and it has been within 3 days of tick removal, make sure to get antibiotic prophylaxis!
There are several other strategies that you can do to protect yourself when enjoying the spring and summer activities outside. I always tell my patient to wear long-legged and long-sleeved clothing, tuck your pants into your socks, and wear light-colored clothing. This will help you see them better and inhibit them from crawling onto your skin. Always make sure to check to do a full body check for ticks after being outside, but especially after being in wooded outdoor areas. You can also lay down gravel or wood chips between wooded areas and your lawn and keep playsets and picnic tables away from the forest lines so tick can’t jump
Atracare offers testing for early diagnosis of Lyme with a simple finger prick with results in 15 minutes. The clinic also offers testing for other tick-borne illnesses as well.
Visit your nearest Atracare Walk-In in Lewes or Ocean View, Delaware to be seen.
Both locations are open every day from 8 AM to 8 PM.
You can also book an appointment on their website at www.atracare.com.