Tick borne illnesses on the rise due to warm winter

(Photo: WKRN)

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Insects are out in force. A lack of true winter cold has led to an abundance of ticks. One local hospital has seen an uptick in tick borne illnesses.

The disease temporarily incapacitated one of their surgeons. Now, he’s putting out the warning.

Doctor Chad Swan and his family of five live in a home near Goodlettsville. Their humble abode offers creature comforts of suburban life, with plenty of country creatures out by the creek.

“I have small children. There’s a creek back there,” said Dr. Swan. “They love to get in the creek. We go back there frequently.”

Among the trees and brush, though, lays a critter that’s crawling up in numbers.

Ticks have been the talk amongst the Swans ever since Dr. Swan, a surgeon with TriStar Hendersonville Medical Center, fell ill.

“I was having fever, chills, night sweats, my joints were aching – I started cancelling surgery, rescheduling patients, and then finally I had the sense enough to go to the hospital,” he explained. “I thought I had the flu. I thought I had a viral illness.”

A couple of quick tests by TriStar coworkers confirmed it was no flu.

“I came up with the diagnosis of a tick borne illness. Once I got antibiotics the world changed,” explained Dr. Swan. “More than likely, the diagnosis was Rocky Mountain spotted fever from the tick.”

Ticks are tough to fight, but there are a few tips to follow.

Keep your lawn well-manicured, and wear bug spray with DEET.

The CDC offers several tick prevention tips, click here for a link.

“I think what happened was I got complacent,” said Dr. Swan. “I’m the living truth that you’ve got to wear insect repellent.”

Should you show flu like symptoms, it never hurts to get checked, in case an infected critter has been creeping through your lawn.