Tick-borne illnesses are on the rise in Alabama

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. — While you’re outside during the hot, summer months, you may want to take extra precautions to guard against ticks this year.

Dr. Scott Harris with the Alabama Department of Public Health says up until a few years ago, Alabama rarely saw Lyme Disease associated with tick bites.

“It’s not clear if we really have a lot more of that disease or if people are just better diagnosing it,” Dr. Harris said.

The ADPH confirms 38 cases of Lyme Disease in 2016, compared to nine cases in 2008 and only two in 2010.

A bull’s eye rash at the site of the tick is what most see first.

“The rash itself is not necessarily a big deal and goes away on its own, but there are some complications of Lyme Disease that can happen,” Dr. Harris said.

Dr. Harris said most of the time, oral medication will do the trick, but here’s how you can try to prevent it before the bite.

“The first thing people can do is clean up brush and clean up unwanted vegetation on your property so that you don’t have overgrown areas that would be a good environment for ticks,” he said.

It’s not something that requires a doctors visit. If you do find a tick on you or your child, Dr. Harris suggests using a fine-tipped pair of tweezers to remove it.