During tick season, doctors will have to differentiate between West Nile, COVID-19 fevers


It's important to take the necessary precautions before walking into a tick's hunting grounds

(WKBN) – It’s tick season and doctors are reminding people how to prevent getting ticks on yourself or your pets. But, ticks aren’t the only insect we need to be careful of.

It all starts in grassy, wooded areas, then as soon as you know it, a tick can get on you or your dog.

“They usually will bite in areas that are warm and moist. So armpits, the groin area and your scalp. So those are the key areas. So you will see a tick, it’s not tiny,” said Dr. Fareedah Goodwin-Capers, with Mercy Health Family Medicine.

Which is why it’s important that you take the necessary precautions before walking into a tick’s hunting grounds.

“You know, I always encourage everyone to try to wear, I know it’s hot outside, but if you’re going into a wooded area or where ticks may be, to wear long clothes,” said Dr. Dee Banks, an infectious disease specialist.

Another blood-feeding insect you should watch out for is mosquitoes.

“Mosquitoes like areas where there is water and if you have flower pots or when it rains, flower pots with still water or a pond,” Dr. Banks said.

Dr. Banks said we’re starting to transition into the West Nile Virus season, saying there haven’t been any reported cases in Ohio yet.

“The thing about this season with the respect of West Nile and ticks is that with coronavirus, we’re so interested in fevers,” Dr. Banks said.

Now, Dr. Banks said doctors are going to have to differentiate one disease from another.

At one veterinarian’s office in Youngstown, they’ve seen six cases of Lyme disease in dogs over the past two months.

“There are three basic types of diseases that we see in ticks. There’s Lyme disease, which everyone’s heard of, there’s anaplasmosis, which is another bad tick disease, and there’s ehrlichiosis,” said Dr. Donald K. Allen, a veterinarian.

Dr. Allen said it takes ticks 24 hours to transmit a disease, which is why he recommends his patients to buy flea and tick repellent products for their dogs.

“It’s a big problem and we here in Youngstown, Boardman, Mill Creek Park — man, the ticks are everywhere. Go to [Pennsylvania], the ticks are everywhere,” he said.

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