Friday, May 24 2013 9:39 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:39:24 GMT
It's said, that to understand a man you've got to walk a mile in his shoes. Shawn McKearin's story is one that can't be judged by simply looking at the smile that's usually on his face.More >>
Shawn McKearin's story is one that can't be judged by simply looking at the smile that's usually on his face. In fact when you hear it, you learn his journey has not been easy.More >>
DECATUR, AL (WAFF) -
The Alabama Department of Public Health has reported an increase in Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, an indication that the tick population in the state has also increased over last year.
The tick-borne illness is easily treatable if caught early, but can cause significant health issues, including death, if left untreated.
Another indication of the tick population boom is found with pets.
Decatur veterinarian Steve Osborne said this has been the worst tick and flea season he's seen in years. He said the mild winter led to the increase in the number of the insects.
He said people need to protect their pets with products that will repel ticks for weeks.
"Every dog needs to be on some sort of tick preventative, either a tick collar that contains Amatraz or a topical product like Frontline, or Advantage is another one. This year, the ticks are moving everywhere, and you will find them in areas what would be typically a suburban setting," he said.
For humans, experts advise the best prevention is to avoid places where ticks normally thrive, wooded areas and places with tall grass.
If someone does go into those areas, it is advised to use a repellant that contains at least 20 percent DEET. That will protect exposed skin for several hours.
Experts also advise to keep pets that spend time outside off of furniture when they are inside.