You’ve probably seen the headlines of a deadly tick disease likely on the rise this summer.
It’s causing panic across North America.
It’s called Powassan virus and it’s transmitted to humans by infected ticks. It can impact the nervous system, memory, thinking, and balance.
In one case, it was deadly. A Minnesota woman died in 2011 from the virus as it caused swelling in her brain.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report 75 cases of POW virus over the past decade.
Most cases occurring in the Northeast and Great Lakes region, so if you live in Florida no need to get anxiety over it.
But here is something you do need to worry about. Ticks attaching to human skin.
Local dermatologist Dr. Seth Forman, MD has seen more patients coming to him. They’re scared a new mole on their body is skin cancer when it’s not.
“You see some legs squirming that you realize it's still a live tick,” says Dr. Seth Forman, MD
Tampa resident Nancy Bragg found a tick on her skin not once but twice.
“It felt like a tickle and I knew there was a problem,” says Bragg.
One crawled up her clothes and attached to the right side of her stomach.
“it's not fun, it's bothersome with a little anxiety,” says Bragg. “You want to make sure you got it all.”
Here's the thing, you can remove the tick on your own but Dr. Forman says pieces can get left behind.
“Sometimes the month part of the tick can be embedded in someone’s skin,” says Dr. Forman, MD. “While it's not dangerous, it can cause a tick bite granuloma, where someone gets a bump or lesion around whatever parts have not been removed.”
Here's the good news, Dr. Forman hasn't come across a patient with a virus because of a tick bite but does treat them with antibiotics, just in case.
Ways to Prevent Tick Bites
- Use repellant that contains 20-30% DEET
- Apply permethrin to clothing and gear
- Walk in the center of paths and trails
- Perform regular tick checks on yourself, your family, and your pets
- Shower soon after being in tick habitat
- Use veterinarian recommended products to keep ticks off pets
- Keep grass, shrubs and trees close to your residence trimmed
The Florida health website has a list of all the ticks in Florida and what they look like.
So if you see a tick in person, you can use this website to identify it.