Here’s something that’ll make your skin craw – tick-borne illnesses are on the rise. According to doctors, not only have cases of Lyme disease tripled over the past 20 years, 11 other diseases carried by ticks are also becoming more prevalent. In fact, one type -- borrelia mayonii – was first discovered here in Minnesota just five years ago.

Since May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, Dr. Frank Rhame, an infectious disease specialist with Allina Health, stopped by the show today to discuss how to spot the symptoms of a tick bite, the differences between the tick-borne illnesses and how to protect ourselves.

For more information on Lyme disease and tick bites, click here.

Signs & Symptoms of Lyme Disease

  • Untreated Lyme disease can produce a wide range of symptoms, depending on the stage of infection.
  • Among the most common -- fever, rash, facial paralysis, and arthritis. 
  • If you have any of these symptoms or you’ve been bitten by a tick, make sure you see your doctor.
  • Patients treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover quickly and completely.

Best Ways to Protect Yourself From Ticks

  • Cover up
  • Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter
  • Walk in the center of trails
  • Use repellent on your skin and clothing
  • Make sure you check yourself, your kids, and your pets for ticks
  • If you do find a tick -- use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible, pull upward with steady pressure, and clean the bite immediately with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water