A Warmer Winter Has Created a Climate for More Ticks in Greenville

One of the best things about living in the Upstate is you don’t really have to travel to take a vacation. The great outdoors is all around us. Maybe you’ve planned a day trip with your family hiking around the Swamp Rabbit trail and then headed to Travelers Rest for pizza and ice cream. Or is a long walk along the river in the shade of all the beautiful trees of Falls Park more your thing? Is one day not enough? It’s only a 10-minute drive from town to Paris Mountain State Park where you can camp for the weekend and feel like you’ve left civilization behind.

What Dangers do Ticks Bring to Greenville?

Outdoor living does not come without the need for precautions, however, and part of that means being aware of ticks. WIS reports health officials are warning of a larger tick population this year. There is no way around the fact that more ticks will mean more tick bites. More tick bites can lead to more tick-borne illness and in this part of the country that is most likely to be Rocky Mountain Spotted fever (RMSF). Tennessee has already experienced its first death due to this illness. The Macon County Times reports that a 20-year-old young woman recently died from Rocky Mountain Spotted fever after a five-week battle with it. They too make note of more ticks due to a mild winter.

What to Watch For

The good news is that no one is telling you to stay indoors. Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, RMSF, is treatable with antibiotics and Dr. Ann-Kathryn Burch, pediatric infectious disease physician with Palmetto Children’s Hospital tells us the sooner the better. Your first symptoms may be fever and a terrible headache and yes, most people will have a rash as well, but that can come later. Other symptoms may include nausea, abdominal pain, muscle pain, those similar to the flu. The combination of symptoms can be different for each individual. Watching for symptoms and reporting immediately is a major factor, even if you aren’t sure you’ve been bitten. Katie Underhill, the young woman from Tennessee, was first diagnosed with the flu. If you are sick and have spent time outdoors, ask your healthcare provider to test you for RMSF.

Preventative Measures

Mama always said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and that is definitely the case when it comes to Rocky Mountain Spotted fever or any other tick or mosquito-borne illness. You can’t get sick if you don’t get bit. Here are a few helpful hints:

  • Wear light colored clothing when outdoors that makes ticks easier to see.
  • Wear repellent, preferably containing DEET for best protection.
  • Check yourself immediately when you go indoors. Ticks like warm moist places such as the neck and behind the ear, scalp, pits, and groin area.
  • Throw clothes that were worn in a hot dryer for 10 minutes.
Billy & Michele Scales, owners of Mosquito Squad of Greenville

You can prepare your yard as well by following the 6Cs of Tick prevention. Again… no ticks, no tick bites. Mosquito Squad of Greenville would like to be a part of keeping your family healthy by avoiding bites from ticks and mosquitoes. Our barrier spray can rid your yard of 85-90% of those little pests and our tick tubes can keep more ticks from becoming adults and returning next year. Call us today to learn more about our services. We can’t wait to hear from you! 864-277-4299

End of Summer Isn’t the End of Tick Season

American Dog Tick
American Dog Tick

Kids may have gone back to school, making summer seem officially over, but there is still plenty of warm weather expected in the Upstate. And even at summer’s end, our fantastic fall weather keeps us outside in full force. Mountain hikes, apple picking…it’s just the perfect time of year. But the bugs are still out. Ticks will be right there on the path with you, as you absorb the beginning of the Fall color change; ticks that might be carrying Rocky Mountain Spotted fever.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: Know the Facts

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, RMSF, is transmitted to humans by an infected American Dog Tick, Rocky Mountain Wood Tick, or Brown Dog Tick. The Clemson University Entomology department contributes most cases in this part of the country to the American dog tick. Symptoms of RMSF usually set in 2-14 days after a tick bite. In the beginning, they are often nonspecific. Fever, rash, headache, stomach pain and vomiting, conjunctivitis, joint pain: an infected person may have any combination of these basic flu-like symptoms.

Rocky_Mountain_spotted_fever_RASHA spotty rash that usually starts at the wrists and ankles is a more specific symptom but often doesn’t appear until several days into the the illness, and about 10% of those infected will not get the rash at all. Most people can be successfully treated with antibiotics. For those not treated this illness can be very dangerous.  RMSF damages your smallest blood vessels. When it goes untreated, it can lead to encephalitis, inflammation of the heart and lungs, kidney failure, infection and amputation, even death. Untreated the death rate is nearly 75%.

It is imperative that if you know that you or a family member has been bitten by a tick, you keep very aware of the onset of any of the above symptoms. Especially for small children. The American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene say that “Children 5–9 years of age appeared at highest risk for fatal outcome.” The CDC also rates children under the age of 10 at the greatest risk for fatality.

North and South Carolina are High-Risk Zones: Protect Yourself

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is reported over most of the country, but some states have a much higher rate than others. North Carolina is one of the top 5, with an annual occurrence of 19-63 cases per million people. South Carolina has the second highest rate of 1.5-19 cases per million. And here in the Upstate that puts us right on the line. Keep yourself protected. Use the appropriate bug spray and clothing, especially on those trips that keep you near trees and wooded areas. Check for ticks and if you find one, carefully remove it and make note of it. Write down the date and watch for symptoms.

Billy & Michele Scales, owners of Mosquito Squad of Greenville
Billy & Michele Scales, owners of Mosquito Squad of Greenville

At home, you can let us help. Mosquito Squad of Greenville has a comprehensive tick control program with a barrier spray that eliminates 85-90% of adult ticks in your yard. We can further your protection with our tick tube system by helping to eliminate ticks at the beginning of their lifecycle. Knowing that children have a higher risk factor, prevention is the best plan of defense. Call us today and let us create the best control program for your situation. 864-277-4299

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in the Carolinas

More dangerous than you think, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a real threat in the Greenville area. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) has been reported in almost all of the United States. The CDC reports that 60% of those cases occur in 5 states – North Carolina being one of them. The disease is dangerous can even be deadly if not treated on time.

American_dog_tick-carries_Rocky_mountain-Spotted-feverWhat is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?

RMSF is a tick-borne disease that is caused by a bacteria called Rickettsia rickettsii. The main vectors of this bacteria are ticks. In the Carolinas, the bite of an infected American Dog Tick is how humans become infected.

What are the Symptoms of RMSF?

Within 2-14 days of being bitten by an infected American Dog Tick, you may experience a variety of symptoms. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize they’ve been bitten. Symptoms can include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, muscle pain, lack of appetite, conjunctivitis, and rash. The rash is the namesake of RMSF, but only about 90% of patients will get the rash and some don’t get it until after treatment should have already begun. Some patients may experience long-term health problems caused by the disease due to damage to blood vessels. The illness can cause blood clots, blood circulation loss in extremities and severe complication related to these issues.

RMSF Treatment & Diagnosis

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is tricky because diagnosing the non-specific symptoms is tricky when the patient does not know they have been bitten. When RMSF is suspected, treatment with Doxycycline is important to start during the first 5 days of symptoms. If caught early and treated, patients can recover fully and completely.

While we don’t want to scare anyone into worrying about RMSF, it is important that we inform you what to look for. This will help you if you become sick in assisting your doctor in diagnosis. If you may have been exposed to ticks and you do become ill, you should see your doctor right away.

Billy & Michele Scales, owners of Mosquito Squad of Greenville.
Billy & Michele Scales, owners of Mosquito Squad of Greenville, with Tillman.

To lower your risk for tick bites in your own yard, sign up for our Intensive Tick Treatment. With our traditional barrier spray eliminating ticks on contact combined with tick tubes, you can enjoy up to a 90% reduction of ticks in your yard. Call today 864-277-4299 or visit our website.