Health experts warn about ticks

HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) — Health experts in Hamilton County are urging people to be aware of ticks.

Brenna Shaw spent time at Greenway Farms taking pictures on Friday. When outside, she’s mindful of the ticks.

“They get everywhere. They get all over you,” Shaw said.

She has ways to make sure she stays safe.

“Bug spray and I just kind of watch. I check and I have a little boy, so that is something that when we come back from going hiking or being outdoors of any kind we double check our bodies and I make sure I check him good and well to make sure he doesn’t have any,” Shaw said.

Bonnie Deakins, the director of environmental health, at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department, says this is the time of year those critters come out.

“We are just trying to make people aware that if they are out in grassy, wooded, brushy areas with a lot of leaf litter then you know there are ticks there. So we are just recommending that people use some type of repellent if they are going to be in those types of areas,” Deakins said.

It is also important to protect pets.

“Pets need to be wearing a tick collar or some other type of preventative because they can carry the ticks into you as well. So it is very important to use a preventative and check them for ticks as well, ” Deakins said.

The most common disease people can get from ticks in our area is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

“That is a tick disease that many times causes a rash on folks and a fever and some fatigue and maybe some joint pains aching pains,” Deakins said.

If you do get a tick, she has advice.

“The best thing to do is get a pair of tweezers and grasp the tick as close as you can and just pull up gently straight up and remove the tick in that way,” Deakins said.

As for Shaw, she hasn’t seen any this season and she hopes it stays that way.

Last year there were 13 cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Hamilton County.

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