Waterloo 5-year-old battles Lyme disease after tick bites - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo 5-year-old battles Lyme disease after tick bites

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - A Waterloo family knows firsthand what dealing with Lyme disease is like.

Five-year-old Adrienne Fuller was bit multiple times by a deer tick over the 4th of July last summer.

"We never thought this would happen to us," said Clint Fuller, Adrienne's dad.

The Fuller family said Adrienne had a 104 degree temperature for 10 days. They said she was tired and didn't feel well.

After multiple visits to physicians, they finally received the Lyme disease diagnosis.

"It's a little weird to be a statistic," said Fuller.

The most recent statistics for the state show 718 cases of Lyme disease between 2003 and 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

That's why families like the Fullers want others to be vigilant.

"Check yourselves often," he said. "Every time you leave the forest, every time you leave the park, every time you leave anywhere where there's a tree or you're out in the summer weather, check yourself out. It's that simple. It's that easy."

Dr. James Lehman, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, recommends people wear protective clothing and shower within two hours of potential exposures to ticks.

He also recommends using a tick repellent or tick-killing product such as DEET or Picaridin.

Christopher Hill, Chief of Emergency Services at UnityPoint Allen Hospital, said people should look for a "bull's eye rash" around the site near a bite.

"Lyme disease is transmitted by a very small tick, unlike the common wood tick we commonly see," he said.

Hill said joint aches and pains can be the first symptoms and, if not treated with antibiotics early, can develop into neurological problems.

The Iowa Department of Public Health recommends people wear long-sleeved shirts and tuck pants into socks or boots, avoid tall grassy areas and stay on trails when walking or hiking to minimize the risk for Lyme disease exposure.
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