Ticks out in large numbers in NC after mild winter and abundant rain

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — They’re creepy, crawly, and can carry life-threatening diseases.

CBS North Carolina talked to researchers at N.C. State University about how to avoid ticks, and what to do if you find one on your body.

Ticks are out in big numbers this summer because of a mild winter and plenty of rain.

“That combination is very beneficial for mother ticks laying eggs,” said Dr. Ed Breitschwerdt, a professor at NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

He researches ticks and the diseases they can spread, like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

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“It can actually kill a dog, kill a human if not diagnosed early, properly, and treated with an appropriate antibiotic,” said Breitschwerdt of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Other illnesses like Lyme Disease and Ehrlichiosis are prevalent in North Carolina too, and each are carried by different kinds of ticks.

Because people have a high chance of running into ticks when outside, Breitschwerdt advises wearing long pants with them tucked into socks.

But if you do find one that has attached itself to your skin, Breitschwerdt says to gently pull it off and save it.

“We can actually test the tick, send it to the lab and determine what kind of tick it is, so they could determine if it was a tick that would be likely to be a carrier of a tick-borne illness such as Lyme Disease,” said Glory Galucci with Any Lab Test Now.

Galucci says her business can also test your blood for the presence of a tick-borne illness. But if you show any symptoms of a disease, you should see a doctor quickly.

You can also help ward off ticks by using insect repellent like Deet on yourself, and flea and tick medications on your pets.

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