Your Health: 4-19-13 Ticks and diseases

      This is{} t{}he beginning of the season to be aware of ticks and the risk of tickborne diseases.

      So, if you spend time outdoors or have pets that go outdoors, you need to beware of ticks and the diseases that they can carry.

      The Alabama Department of Public Health reminds us that the risk of tickborne diseases is greatest from April through September in Alabama.

      Ticks are small blood-sucking parasites that can transmit diseases to animals and people including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, southern tick-associated rash illness and Lyme disease.

      According to ADPH, In 2012, 213 people in Alabama were diagnosed with a tickborne disease that most likely could have been prevented.

      The Alabama Department of Public Health recommends the following:

      Use a repellent with DEET, permethrin or picaridin.

      Tuck pant legs into socks and wear light-colored protective clothing to make tick inspections easier.

      Avoid tick-infested areas such as tall grass, leaf litter or bushy fields.

      Check yourself, your children and your pets daily for ticks and carefully remove any ticks you find as soon as possible.

      Tickborne diseases can be difficult to diagnose and confirm, so see your doctor if you have been bitten by a tick and experience any of the following symptoms: rash, fever, headache, fatigue and muscle aches.

      In extremely rare cases, tick paralysis can occur from the toxin in tick saliva which can be confused with other neurologic diseases.

      Most tickborne diseases can be treated successfully, if treatment is started early.