KINGSPORT, Tenn. - A little creature that can cause big problems, is in our area. The hot and sunny weather is pushing more people to spend time outdoors, but you need to be careful. When you are in wooded areas or tall grass you really need to keep an eye out for these little bugs.
According to the Mayo Clinic, ticks can cause major health problems if you don't catch it quickly. People can have joint aches, neurological problems, heart problems, and severe fatigue. "I had some headaches and mostly joint pressure in my hands and of course where the bite was on my knee," says Jennifer Seay who had Lyme Disease.
Seay was bitten by a tick when she was in fourth grade, but she didn't know how serious that bite was until she went to the doctor. "They drew blood and a week later we found out I had Lyme Disease," says Seay.
Seay told us she would have never known she had Lyme Disease if it wasn't for a strange rash. We learned that rash is the first symptom, and "the rash site usually looks like a bulls eye and it kind of get bigger and bigger so that's the first thing you'll notice and often times is associated with will be flu like symptoms," adds Dr. Anastasia Brown.
Dr. Brown told us the rash shows up about a week after the bite, and as soon as you notice it you should see a doctor. "The longer you wait the less effective the treatment can be and often times the longer you have to be treated so the sooner the better," say Dr. Brown.
If you're out in the woods there are a few things you can do to protect yourself from ticks. We suggest wearing long pants and long sleeves, you may want to buy yourself some bug repellant. "It's really unlikely to get Lyme Disease unless the tick has been on you for at least 24 to 36 hours," says Dr. Brown.
Seay says after her experience with Lyme Disease she is extra careful after being outdoors. "I check myself and my kids a lot, I freak out if I see a tick on my children," adds Seay. Doctors say that's a good idea to make sure you check for ticks after coming from wooded areas.
Seay told us she still deals with some joint aches. We learned for most people, Lyme Disease can be taken care of by antibiotics. Some people can have long term effects though including joint aches, short term memory loss, and liver damage.