Ticks out in full force - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Ticks out in full force

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Eau Claire (WQOW)- Many of you are anxious to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather, but there's something you need to know beforehand.  Ticks are also ready.  They are starting to come out in full force. 

It's finally warming up here in Wisconsin.  That's good news for those of us who had cabin fever over the long winter, but also good news for some unwanted company.

"We do expect more ticks because we have more deer.  We do have more rodents and field mice and so because of all the food for them, we are going to have more ticks," points out Environmental Health Supervisor K.T. Gallagher.

Ticks can lead to Lyme disease.  Health officials say the best way to prevent that from happening is to check, check, check.

"You want to make sure you are looking in all the usual areas; tight-fitting clothing areas, your armpits, your groin, in your hair," Gallagher explains.

Just because you've found one doesn't mean you're going to get sick if you catch it in time.   

"Even if you have had a tick latch on, if you can get them off within the first 24 hours, you are still going to prevent that Lyme disease," adds Gallagher.

We've taken a look at ways to keep ticks from latching onto your body, but what if it's too late and they're already there?

The Eau Claire City County Health Department says although it's early in the tick season, one case of Lyme disease has already been reported.  We reached out to someone who's had it before to see what it was like.

"My knee hurt really bad," remembers UW-Eau Claire Junior Ginna Roe.  "My knee was all swollen and they thought that I had a bone disease so they rushed me to the hospital.  My mom actually got a speeding ticket on the way to the hospital.  They didn't think Lyme disease right away.  But after testing, that's what it came back to be."

Medical experts say most people can tell when they've got it because they will get what's called a red bullseye on their body in the form of a rash.  But it's not that way for everyone.

"I never found the tick so that's why it was hard to diagnose because I don't know where I had it," Roe says.  "We had no idea it was Lyme disease because I never found a bullseye."

"Once in a while, people will go months or even years before they start seeing things like arthritic joints or disturbances in the heart rhythm or nervous system problems; those kinds of very serious complications with Lyme's," explains Director of Nursing Kitty Rahl.

Early prevention is key.  If you detect it early, it can be treated very easily with antibiotics.  So keep a watchful eye and remember, ticks aren't your friends.

There was a vaccine for humans, but it was only for adults and because of low demand, was pulled from the market.  Experts are working on another vaccine that would be acceptable for all ages.

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