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Tick related illness common in the summer - KOAM TV 7

Tick related illness common in the summer

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A Shawnee, Oklahoma woman has been in the hospital for more than a month after being bitten by a tick while on vacation early last month. According to family, 40 year old Jo Rogers has been in an out of 3 different hospitals since July 9.

She was tested for a number of viral and bacterial infections and all the results came back negative. Doctors were forced to amputate all of her limbs and soon learned they were dealing with an extremely bad case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

We spoke to a doctor at Freeman Hospital in Joplin who told us they haven't seen an increase in tick bite cases but they do have tips for those enjoying the outdoors.

Dr. Kathryn Cornelius says while a tick won't transmit a disease until it's been on your skin for 24 hours, it is important to remove it as soon as possible because it won't fall off on its own until it's fully engorged.

She says ticks usually go to the parts of the body with the most blood supply so checking under your arms and the backs of your legs is vital.

If a tick is found, remove it with tweezers, grabbing as close to the skin as possible. Be sure that you do not pinch the tick.

And if you do plan on going into a heavily wooded area, take precautions.

“Deet, which is in a lot of your off sprays and thinks like that can actually be applied to the skin. It's good for 3 or 4 hours, if you're going to be out longer you're going to need to reapply it. And then there's Permethrin which is also kind of a tick repellent and that can be put on clothing, when you wash clothing it stays on there for 3 or 4 days at a time so that doesn't have to be re-applied,” says Dr. Cornelius.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is just 1 of 6 tick-related illnesses native to Missouri. General symptoms of these illnesses include fever, muscle aches, joint pain, nausea and rashes. However, rashes may be delayed and do not always look the same.

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