Lyme Disease Isn't the Only Reason to Fear Ticks

tickWe already take many precautions when it comes to preventing our kids and ourselves from getting Lyme disease, but there is another tick-borne illness that seems to be on the rise and it's much more serious. Powassan virus is caused by a tick bite and it can be life-threatening with symptoms coming on minutes after being bitten.

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Researchers shared that ticks carrying Powassan virus have been found in the Northeast and around the Great Lakes. The symptoms after being bitten by a tick with Powassan are immediate and severe, similar to Lyme but worse -- there is a chance of seizures, stiff neck, and fever. There is no cure or treatment and Dr. Daniel Cameron, the President of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, said that it's important to get to the emergency room quickly so a doctor can "support you during the acute illness and hope that you survive."

More From The Stir: Lyme Disease Is on the Rise -- Here's How to Protect Your Family

This truly sounds terrifying. Summer is coming. We are going to be outdoors every chance we get. And while Powassan is still rare -- 50 cases were reported in the last 10 years -- it is said to be on the rise. So what are we supposed to do?

Don't panic. The experts suggest what you already know -- use sprays that ward off ticks, avoid heavily wooded areas where ticks like to hang out, and make sure everyone is wearing long socks (and sleeves and pants when you can) while outside. The pants and sleeves thing is difficult, but we can be more aware, and cover up as much as possible when in the woods. And of course, we should do tick checks often.

As a parent to two outdoorsy 5-year-olds, I'm concerned. My daughter already contracted Lyme disease when she was 2, but thankfully a dose of antibiotics stopped it before she had any symptoms. I never saw the tick on her body, but I did spot the bulls-eye mark. We can't let this news scare us or make us not want to go outside, but we can be more vigilant about prevention and doing more checks.

What preventative measures do you take to make sure your family doesn't get bit by ticks?


Image via John Tann/Flickr

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