Protecting your family from tick-borne illnesses this summer

Published: Jun. 8, 2017 at 1:34 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 9, 2017 at 7:11 AM CDT
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WSFA/NBC - Experts say a warmer winter likely impacted the tick population. They say families, especially children, need to take precautions when outdoors.

A tick bite may be to blame for a toddler's death in Indiana. Little Kentley Ratliff went from healthy to dangerously sick in just one week.

"Yes, within less than like five days. Her little body couldn't handle it," family friend Monica Kirby said.

The two-year-old girl's family suspects she may have been infected with Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which is a rare illness usually transmitted by a tick bite.

"You'd use a product with DEET in it. It would be a repellent. You'd want to make sure you spray your pant leg, down low, because that's where the ticks are. They're going to be in the grasses, especially higher grasses, maybe knee-high," said biologist Jim Erwin said.

If Rocky Mountain spotted fever is not treated right away with antibiotics, there is a high death rate.

Experts say if you get a rash or fever after being around ticks you should see a doctor and get checked out immediately.

For more information on Lyme disease and rocky mountain spotted fever in our area, go to the Alabama Lyme Disease Association website.
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