Bugs are out and about this season, and local health care providers agree that ticks are taking over this year.
“There’s been more and more ticks this year and fewer mosquitoes than expected,” said Dr. Michael Brackett of Emory-Clark Holder Clinic.
Due to the moist and rainy weather this year ticks and other bugs are thriving under its conditions, he said.
Pharmacist Perry Prather of Holmes Pharmacy said some ticks can transmit diseases such as Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF).
“Some symptoms of these diseases can include fatigue, headache, stiff neck, swelling,” he said. “Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is worse than Lyme disease. It can cause kidney failure, nausea and vomiting if not treated early.”
Physical signs of RMSF can be a small purple and red spot on the hand that spreads to the rest of the body, said Prather. A bite resulting in Lyme Disease can look similar to a bulls eye.
The sooner a tick is removed, within 24 hours, the less likely you are to get an illness or injection. When removing any tick, said Prather, make sure the tick is completely removed because any piece of the tick is left in the skin can cause infection.
In the past, Brackett says he has treated the previously mentioned diseases as well as tick-borne disease Ehrlichiosis and the mosquito-borne disease West Nile Virus in the area, which can be treated by antibiotics.
The best thing to do to avoid these pests are to avoid to common mistakes, said Brackett.
“One of the common mistakes is that people have stagnant water around their house and mosquitoes only require a table spoon of water to multiply,” he said. “Old cups, old pans, tires, old garbage. Generally in creeks and lakes, but the Asian Tiger Mosquito can usually be found in pots around the house.”
He recommended using Deet sprays, or Permethrine sprays, a form of insecticide that is sprayed only on clothing, to avoid bug bites.
Ronnie Burns, local Orkin branch manager said ticks are seasonal and will probably be seen through the month of September.
Next month, he said, will begin the peak season for mosquitoes.
“They’re hot and heavy all over the state,” said Burns. “Especially in areas where there’s a lot of soilage. They only need very little water to survive. July to August is the prime season for mosquitoes.”
Though both pests lurk in heavily wooded and moist areas, majority of the ticks are brought in by animals, he said.
Deer ticks and dog ticks are prevalent in the area, according to Dr. William Whitlow, veterinarian at Four Paws Animal Hospital.
Whitlow advised that frequent, even occasional, outside pets should be checked immediately for ticks, since they are more prone to the pests.
“Deer primarily spreads ticks,” said Whitlow. “Armadillos, dogs and cats are susceptible to them.”
The best place to check for ticks on pets are around the ears, groin area, neck and paws. The hair must be parted to be able to see the ticks, said Whitlow.
Those living in heavily wooded areas should check their pets daily for ticks. Whitlow recommends using animal flee preventatives like the Frontline spray for pets.
Health care providers recommend wearing clothing to protect areas of the body in wooded and grassy areas and using yards sprays and bug repellent to avoid bites. If bitten, Burns recommended using tweezers and alcohol to remove ticks from skin.
Aside from bug prevention, Whitlow wants to inform those with pets not to leave animals in cars or in heat for long periods of time. He has recently treated pets for heat strokes, which can stem from pets not having cool water or being in an enclosed heated area for as little as 10 minutes.