Local healthcare providers discuss tick-borne illness signs and - KOAM TV 7

Local healthcare providers discuss tick-borne illness signs and prevention


Ticks are responsible for more human diseases in the US than any other insect and at least six of those tick-borne illnesses have been reported in the state of Missouri, according to the state health department.

"It first started with a headache that just wouldn't go away," said Chris Green, tick-borne illness patient.

Chris Green spends a lot of time outdoors and is used to pulling off ticks, one of which he believes made him ill with a 103 degree fever.

"I thought it was the flu at first and then once the fever broke, I thought I was in the clear," he said.  "Then 15 minutes later, I was right back to the same thing."

Green was diagnosed with tick-borne illness last month.

Healthcare providers at Freeman Urgent Care say cases like his are rare because most ticks are not carriers and even those that are require attachment for long lengths of time.

"It would have to feed on you for a while," said Jeffrey Green, D.O. at Freeman Urgent Care.  "A lot of sources say it takes 24 hours, in order to actually transmit the agent to you, so the quicker you get the ticks off of you, the better."

Dr. Green says he has seen several tick bites so far this year, but very few have led to a tick-borne illness.

"Wait a few days, maybe a week, and see if any symptoms develop," Dr. Green said.  "Do you get a headache? Do you get a known fever? Do you get some unusual body aches?  Any of those kind of things that suggest you may be coming down with the flu, but during the summertime."

He says some will also get a severe rash and that prevention is key.

"The best thing to do is wear your repellant," Dr. Green said.  "They say wear white clothing. White clothing doesn't necessarily repel the tick, it just makes them easier to spot."

Dr. Green says there is a myth that an unremoved tick head will cause illness.

He argues rather than getting sick, your body will treat any portion of the tick's head left under the skin as a splinter or other foreign body.

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