PORTLAND, Ore. (August 22, 2023): In the midst of peak mosquito and tick season in Oregon, Dr. Anne Toledo, Chief of Urgent Care for Kaiser Permanente Northwest, reports she is also seeing more patients coming into urgent care with concerns about insect bites.
Not only did the Oregon Health Authority report that mosquito populations are five times greater in Multnomah County this year, but Portlanders are reporting more ticks, too. The NextDoor neighborhood app is filled with reports of ticks crawling closer into town, latching on to people and pets in Southeast, Montavilla and Mt. Tabor.
Dr. Toledo attributes much of this increase in insects to climate change, which allows pests that carry infection, such as ticks, to live longer and wider ranging. The good news? “Only some ticks can spread diseases to humans,” said Dr. Toledo. “In Oregon, Lyme disease is very rare and although the western black-legged tick can spread Lyme disease it is important to know what the other risks are and take preventive measures to protect yourself from these summer pests. Many ticks are so small – the size of a sesame seed – that people don’t even realize they’ve been bitten until a mark appears or the tick has grown big.”
Most of the time, all you need to do for a tick bite is relieve any symptoms you may have, which you can do at home. Some people may have an allergic reaction to a tick bite. This reaction may be mild, with symptoms like itching and swelling.
“In rare cases, a severe allergic reaction may occur,” said Dr. Toeldo. “You should seek immediate medical care if you have signs of infection, such as increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness around the bite; red streaks leading from the bite; pus draining from the bite; or a fever.”
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