Hiking season has officially begun in the mountains of Western North Carolina, and that means a steep jump in muddy bootprint sightings, a rise in oversized marshmallow sales — and, unfortunately, the accompanying uptick of tick bite (and tickborne disease) cases across the region.
But Mercy Urgent Care wants you to know that, this summer, you’re not alone. To help arm residents and visitors against these tiny-but-serious pests, Mercy will be offering one free tick removal kit per family while supplies last at each of its five urgent care locations in Asheville, Weaverville, and Brevard.
Why tick removers? Removing ticks is tricky business, as these skin-burrowing insects must be removed both as quickly as possible and with extreme care — not always an easy feat under pressure. Along with providing tick removal kits, Mercy Urgent Care will be sharing helpful information regarding tick-removal and tick-avoidance that can be implemented everywhere from the great outdoors to your backyard garden.
Lurking in grassy, brushy or wooded areas — or being carried around on wild or domestic animals — ticks can carry (and infect hosts with) more than 16 diseases in the United States alone, from the serious, persistent flu-like symptoms of Lyme disease to potentially fatal infections like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, most commonly reported in North Carolina. And that’s why early detection, removal, treatment and general awareness is so important in areas like WNC.
Recently bitten by, or suspect you’ve been bitten by a tick? Check in at any one of Mercy Urgent Care’s Western North Carolina locations for a quick checkup, especially if you’ve felt ill or developed a fever or rash following the potential bite. And remember: After any outdoor activity, always check for ticks, paying close attention to the scalp, ears and underarms, and the areas between the legs, inside the belly button and on the backs of the knees. Your health could depend on it!