Tick Season Underway In Carolinas - WSPA.com

Tick Season Underway In Carolinas

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Some ticks carry dangerous and deadly diseases. Some ticks carry dangerous and deadly diseases.
GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. -

Spending more time under the sun puts you more at risk for tick-bourne illnesses.

"Oh yeah, I take a lot more precautions," says Alex Blanton of Corinth.

Blanton was recently diagnosed with Lyme disease.

"Right where I got bit, it was itching pretty good," Blanton said.

Blanton mainly works outside, and he says it's not uncommon for him to spot a few ticks hiding on his body.

But it took him a few days to spot a small tick near his hip. After he removed it, the area became infected.

"The length of time a tick is on you is really the key. Once it is on you for more than six hours, you have more of a chance of getting a disease," said Dr. Todd Zusmer with Greenville Healthcare System.

Dr. Zusmer has been seeing at least two patients a week coming in with tick bites. He says between April and September is the busiest time for tick-related cases.

Ticks not only carry Lyme disease, they can also transmit what's called Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

"Typically when you have the fever, two –to-five days later you develop a rash," says Dr. Zusmer.

If left untreated, RMSF can be deadly.

Blanton's dad came down with Rocky Mountain spotted fever last year.

"When all this started happening, I actually thought I was getting close to dying," says Al Blanton. "It scared me."

While symptoms can vary from person to person, doctors encourage people to seek help if they're in doubt.

According to S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, there were 64 confirmed and probable cases of RMSF reported. That number is up from 40 cases in 2011.

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