A case of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever has been detected in Tazewell County. Tazewell County Health Department officials say the unidentified patient did not require a hospital stay and is recovering at home.
The potentially fatal illness transmitted to a humans through the bite of an infected tick. Typical symptoms include: fever, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting and muscle pain. A rash may also develop, but is often absent in the first few days, and in some patients, never develops.
The ticks, sometimes no larger than a pin head, become active and can spread disease any time of the year. Peak months for tickborne diseases are April through July. Ticks live in an near wooded areas, tall grass and brush.
Health Department officials urge the following precautions to avoid tick bites:
Apply insect repellent containing DEET (30 percent or less) to exposed skin (except the face). If you do cover up, use repellents for clothing containing DEET or permethrin to treat clothes (especially pants, socks and shoes) while in locations where ticks may be common. Follow label directions; do not misuse or overuse repellents. Permethrin repellents must be used on clothing only, not on skin.
Ticks are usually found in ankle- to shin-high grass and weeds. Ticks cannot hop or fly. Walk in the center of trails so weeds do not brush against you.
"Tick Checks" are an important method of preventing tickborne diseases. In areas where ticks may be present, be sure and check yourself, children and other family members every two to three hours for ticks.
Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferable within 2 hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.
If you let your pets outdoors, check them often for ticks. Infected ticks also can transmit disease to them. (Check with your veterinarian about preventive measures against tickborne diseases.) You are at risk from ticks that "hitch a ride" on your pets, but fall off in your home before they feed.
Remove any tick promptly. Do not try to burn the tick with a match or cover it with petroleum jelly or nail polish. Do not use bare hands. The best way to remove a tick is to grasp it with fine-point tweezers as close to the skin as possible and gently, but firmly, pull it straight out. Do not twist or jerk the tick. If tweezers are not available, grasp the tick with a piece of cloth or whatever can be used as a barrier between your fingers and the tick. You may want to put the tick in a jar of rubbing alcohol labeled with the date and location of the bite in case you seek medical attention and your physician wishes to have the tick identified.
Wash the bite area and your hands thoroughly with soap and water; apply an antiseptic to the bite site.
Keep your grass mowed and keep weeds cut around your home.
Know the symptoms of tickborne disease and consult your physician if you have a fever and a rash or unexplained flu-like illness (without a cough) following a tick bite.