As the Centers for Disease Control report a sharp increase in insect-transmitted disease cases, ticks are a particular concern.
That’s because recent research shows a link between climate change and tick populations in Central California.
Tick-borne diseases — like Lyme Disease — are still much more common in other parts of the United States.
A new paper in the Journal of Medical Entomology shows a link between California’s warming winters and the spread of ticks.
Dr. Michelle Storkan is part of the Wilderness Medicine Faculty at UCSF Fresno, she says Lyme disease is not common in our area.
“We’re lucky that most of them are not endemic to our area but we can have cases but there is relapsing fever cases, rocky mountain spotted fever,” Dr. Storkan stated. “Most of the cases I have seen are people who have been bitten by ticks and then are concerned about what that means in terms of do they need antibiotics or if they are at risk for lyme disease.”
When it comes to ticks, she says timing is important.
“The longer that a tick attaches to you has been shown to correlate to your likelihood of catching Lyme Disease — that’s one that people worry about. The goal is to get the tick off of you within 24 hours. The CDC recommends you can do antibiotic prophylaxis. which is basically one dose of antibiotics within 72 hours — that’s the window,” she added.
Besides clothing that covers the body and using repellents containing at least 20% DEET, experts say check your body for ticks. In some cases, an antibiotic within 72 hours of a bite can prevent infection.