Disease-Carrying Bugs of Summer

Ticks, mosquitoes, and fleas seem to run rampant in the summer, and chances are, you’ve experienced their bites. They’re not pleasant, and sometimes these creatures cause bacterial and viral diseases and are all found in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ticks, mosquitoes and fleas can cause some of the world’s most destructive diseases, but fortunately, these diseases can be prevented. Here are a few tips to remember this summer:

Be Aware: Some of the illnesses that are within the United States are Chikungunya, West Nile Virus, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Ehrlichiosis. There are more than just these illnesses, so if you are curious, visit CDC for more information on what illnesses are in your area.

As reported by the CDC, Chikungunya is a viral disease that is spread to people by the bite of infected mosquitoes. The most common symptoms are fever, joint pain, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, and rash.

West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne illness that is transmitted from mosquitoes to humans. It can cause febrile illness, inflammation of the brain, or meningitis. However, fewer than one percent of people develop a serious neurological condition. Less severe symptoms are fever, headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. The CDC reports than 70 to 80 percent of those infected with WNV do not develop any symptoms.

Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected backlegged tick. Common symptoms of Lyme disease are headache, fever, skin rash, and fatigue. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics, but if untreated, the disease can spread to the joints, heart, and nervous system.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is transmitted through the bite of an infected tick and can be potentially fatal. Symptoms include fever, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting, muscle pain, and sometimes rash. It can be fatal if left untreated.

Ehrlichiosis is a general term to describe several bacterial diseases that affect animals and humans. Typical symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, and muscle aches.

Take Action: The best course of action is to continually take steps to prevent getting bitten by ticks and mosquitoes in the first place. Try to wear light clothing with long sleeves so that you may be able to see any ticks or mosquitoes on your body. Use insect repellants and even spray over your clothes. Make sure to reapply as much as possible. Always check your skin for any ticks, and only use tweezers to remove ticks, not your fingers.

 Know Where to Avoid: This may sound next to impossible, especially now that many of us are spending time outdoors, but limiting your time spent in tall grass and wooded areas can help prevent the time you’re exposed to ticks and mosquitoes.

If you’re concerned about any tick or mosquito bites you may have received, or if you have experienced any of the symptoms listed above, contact your health care provider for further medical treatment. To find a Utica Park Clinic provider near you, please click here or call 918-579-DOCS.