MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Diseases carried by ticks are on the rise and some scientists are predicting this summer could be the worst tick season in years.
People are expected to get more tick bites than any other time from May to July.
While small, they can do major harm, carrying some serious diseases including one hard to diagnose – Lyme Disease.
More than 30,000 cases of the disease are diagnosed each year around the nation but some studies suggest the actual number is closer to 300,000, according to CBS News.
Dr. David Agus told “CBS This Morning” that the last two warm winters in a row are partly to blame for the rise in ticks. Another reason is a record harvest of acorn – a food loved by mice in the wild – mice that carry ticks.
Lyme disease is one of the most common illnesses linked to ticks and it’s difficult to diagnose.
“The real problem is … the one FDA-approved Lyme test doesn’t really turn positive in most cases ’til four to six weeks afterwards, and not even in all cases does it turn positive,” Agus said.
Those who are most recently infected might get a false negative.
On top of Lyme disease, other diseases ticks carry are one the rise like a potentially deadly but rare one called Babesiosis that infects the red blood cells.
How can you prevent getting bitten? Try these tips.
- Opt for long sleeve pants and shirts
- Use repellent that have at least 20% DEET
- Check your body for bites
- Put your clothes in the dryer for 10 minutes since the heat will kill ticks.
- If you have grass surrounding your home, make sure it gets cut regularly so it remains short.