Tick talks

May 16, 2023

Living in Delaware, we are all too aware that tick season is upon us. But some of us may not know these small creatures can have a mighty bite to them.

Not only do ticks cause an itchy rash from the bite itself, but also they can carry a host of diseases leading to long-term health problems. The one most commonly known is Lyme disease, but there are several other diseases ticks can transmit to humans, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis and southern tick-associated rash illness. Ticks even can cause allergies to eating meat protein (alpha-gal syndrome).

According to the CDC, certain tick-borne illnesses have been on the rise recently. Certainly, the warmer weather has allowed ticks to survive longer and reproduce faster. In addition, more people are moving into areas that ticks and the deer they live on inhabit.

Don’t let these tiny ticks keep you from having your outdoor fun. Many people may not know that if they are bitten by a deer tick, they can get antibiotics to prevent them from getting Lyme disease. Ashley Heisey, a physician assistant who works at the Atracare walk-in clinic in Lewes, is all too familiar with tick bites. “One thing I would love my patients to know is that you can get antibiotics not only to treat Lyme, but also for prophylaxis [prevention] of Lyme after you remove a tick,” she said.

So if you think the tick is a deer tick, it was attached for 36 hours or more, and you see a doctor within three days of tick removal, make sure to get antibiotic prophylaxis.

There are several other strategies you can use to protect yourself when enjoying spring and summer activities outside. I always tell my patient to wear long-legged and long-sleeved clothing, tuck your pants into your socks, and wear light-colored clothing. This will help you see the ticks better and inhibit them from crawling onto your skin. Always make sure to do a full body check for ticks after being outside, but especially after being in wooded outdoor areas. You can also put down gravel or wood chips between wooded areas and your lawn, and keep playsets and picnic tables away from the forest lines so ticks can’t jump.

Atracare offers testing for early diagnosis of Lyme with a simple finger prick and results in 15 minutes. The clinic offers testing for other tick-borne illnesses as well.

Dr. Lindsay Albanese, Atracare’s chief medical officer, is board certified in emergency medicine. She sees patients in both the Ocean View and Lewes walk-in clinics, which are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., daily. To make an appointment, text 302-754-5697 for the Ocean View clinic or 302–517-1385 for Lewes, or go to


Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter