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Tick uptick: How to protect yourself from the creepy crawlers

They're back! Disease-carrying ticks are digging in, and one mother is now testing the tick she found latched onto her son's head.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A South Carolina mom is warning other parents after she pulled a tick off her 6-year-old son's head on Memorial Day. Nervous about what diseases the tick could carry, she's now having it tested to make sure her son doesn't need any antibiotics. 

It's just the latest in what seems like an uptick in tick presence. 

"It's tick season," said Dr. Teague, with Atrium Health. 

The blood-suckers are small and sneaky, hanging around in tall grass or wooded areas. As you walk by, they climb up and latch on. 

"Ticks! I dislike ticks intensely," one Charlotte man said. 

The creepy crawlers can carry Lyme disease, usually found in deer. They can also cause Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, according to doctors. 

"They're everywhere," said Kaity Scruggs, with Girl Scouts Hornets' Nest in Charlotte. "And the best thing you can do is really just stay away from where they are."

She said her girl scouts keep safe by taking part in routine checks when out exploring. 

"Regular tick checks," Scruggs said. "That's when we say, hey, we're going to take a break and look at all those soft, warm, delicious areas that the ticks love -- like around your waistband and behind your ears. And we're going to do it all as a group."

As the sun beams down, their unwanted visits tend to go up. 

Last year, ticks were on the rise the week after Memorial Day weekend. 

"The number of folks coming into the emergency rooms has doubled between Memorial Day and the first day of June," said Dr. Teague in 2018. 

Doctors say there are several things you can do to prevent ticks: First, wear bug spray that will keep them away. You should also wear bright colored clothes, which will make ticks easier to spot. Doctors said you should also wear long sleeves when you can, making it harder for the bugs to get to your skin. 

Medical professionals said you should check your pets, your children, and yourself when you come inside. That will limit the chance of ticks getting inside your home. 


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