Health warning: Expect more ticks this summer

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Tick crawling on a person's hand



Because of the mild winter experienced in most parts of the U.S., the number of ticks is expected to be higher this summer and that could cause health issues for some people.

With an increased tick population there is also an increased risk of exposure to tick-borne diseases including Lyme disease and the lesser known, but potentially fatal, Powassan virus (POW). POW can cause fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion and other symptoms.

Only 75 cases of POW have been reported in the U.S. in the last 10 years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Most of those cases have occurred in the Northeast and Great Lakes region. The CDC says there isn’t a specific treatment plan for POW but it often requires hospitalization for respiratory support, intravenous fluids or medications to reduce swelling in the brain.

To reduce your risk of getting bitten by a tick or being infected with POW, the CDC recommends using tick repellents, wearing long sleeves and pants, avoiding bushy and wooded areas and doing thorough tick checks and you spend time outdoors.