Tick season has been bad this year, and one reason is Virginia’s new tick: the Gulf Coast Tick. This tick can lead to Tidewater Spotted Fever, which is generally not deadly, but can make you feel lousy and look “spotted” for awhile. This tick seems to have migrated from the Gulf Coast, and is now probably a permanent resident.
Most people have heard of Lyme disease, but ticks can actually transmit a number of different diseases, and now Tidewater Spotted Fever can be added to that list. Prevention remains the best approach to dealing with tick-borne diseases. Here are some important precautions you can take:
Check for ticks every day.
Wear protective clothing (i.e. long pants/sleeve).
Use tick repellent on clothing & exposed skin.
Avoid areas where ticks are abundant.
If you do find a tick on you, make a note of whether it is engorged or not, carefully remove it with tweezers, and then save it. Put it between two sticky sides of tape and date it. In general, a tick that has been attached for less than 48hrs is at very low risk for transmitting Lyme disease. However, other tick-borne diseases can be spread sooner than that. Monitor for any new rash or symptoms and contact your doctor with questions or concerns.
Here’s a short segment on the new tick that recently aired on WAVY: