Doctor Says More Patients Coming In With Tick Bites

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(Memphis) From play time to picnics, it's that time of the year when everyone is out and about.

There is something you might want to think about when you are outdoors.

As a mother and Cub Scout Assistant, Melissa Haynes makes sure her kids are careful outdoors, "We use bug spray a lot. Whenever we get back in the car we check their hair, arms, legs to make sure the ticks haven't gotten on them."

It's a good idea.

A mild winter and early spring have more ticks out a lot sooner.

Baptist Hospital's Dr. Mark Castellaw has seen the double the normal cases, "Last  week it was so unusual. In my normal routine I saw four consecutive patients that all had tick bites."

He says anyone in woods or grass can be susceptible.

Deer ticks are the ones  to worry about  since they can pass on  lime  disease.

"If the tick bite goes unrecognized and untreated, it can lead to arthritis, debilitating neurological diseases as well as death," says Dr. Castellaw.

A bull's eye rash with a red ring is a sign of a tick bite.

You should get to your doctor for an antibiotic.

You can protect yourself on the front end by doing a tick check of your clothes after being in the grass or woods, check your pets for ticks, shower within two hours of being outside
and use bug repellent like Deet.

Those are some small steps to prevent big problems.

While the chance of getting a deer tick bite is less than five percent, doctors say you need to remove any tick within 36-hours, by using tweezers.