Tick Bites Lead to Rise in Worker Illness - Worksite Medical®

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Risk of Tick Bites & Insect-Related Illnesses


Winter is over, which means an increase in outdoor work is on its way.

And, for construction and other outdoor workers, it also means a higher risk for tick bites and other insect-related diseases.

According to a report from the Center for Disease Control, the rate of diseases stemming from insect bites – such as tick bites – has more than tripled between 2004 and 2016.

More than 640,000 domestic diseases were recorded in that time period, including dengue fever, Zika virus, Lyme disease and plague.


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The CDC also reported that nine new germs from infected mosquito and tick bites have been introduced into the U.S.

In Pennsylvania, there are more reported tick-borne illnesses than in any other state. During the aforementioned 12-year span, there were 73,610 cases in the commonwealth, which currently has more than 25 identified species of ticks.

In 2016 alone, there were 48,000 tick-borne disease cases in the United States — 36,500 Lyme disease — and Pennsylvania reported over 11,000 of them.


Insect bites - Ticks - Worksite Medical

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How Employees Can Reduce the Risk of Insect Bites


While the CDC’s report advocates for increased environmental control as a defense, there are several steps employees can take on their own to reduce their risks of insect bites:

  • Cover up as much as possible with light-colored clothing in a breathable fabric
  • Bathe every day and avoid scented soaps, shampoos, deodorants, perfume, and cologne
  • Keep work area as clean as possible
  • Avoid swatting at flying insects, as this may cause them to sting or bite
  • Check skin and clothing daily for ticks, especially after spending time near woods, bushes, high grass, or leaf litter
  • Look for insect repellent with at least 20 percent DEET and apply to exposed skin and clothing, reapplying as necessary


Below are symptoms of insect-borne diseases:

  • Body, muscle, and joint pain
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Headaches
  • Stiff neck
  • Fatigue
  • Paralysis
  • Stomach pain


Some diseases can be detected by looking at the bite area; for example, Lyme disease can be signaled by a bulls-eye shaped rash. Others may be more difficult to diagnose.


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That’s why it’s important to schedule regular medical exams and check-ups — especially if your employees work outside.


Bringing It All Together


As the amount of ticks increases significantly, so too does the risk of tick, and other insect-related, illnesses.

You can help protect your team, and get them the proper medical testing if and when a bite occurs.

In all too many cases, a person infected with Lyme disease has no idea that he/she has even been bitten, let alone that he/she has the disease.

Don’t leave it to chance. If a worker starts to display some unusual symptoms, then it’s time to get him/her tested.

With Worksite Medical, you can now get Accutix testing, which provides results between 24-48 hours after specimen receipt.

When you’re ready to add Accutix to your medical surveillance plan, we will be here to help.

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