PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - As temperatures begin to heat up with summer right around the corner, health officials are shifting their focus to bug bites!
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the number of cases of diseases spread by biting insects are rising at an alarming rate.
Flea, tick, and mosquito-related diseases have tripled over the last decade, according to the CDC. Researchers found that mosquitoes, ticks and other biting insects caused almost 100,000 illnesses in 2017. That number is up from the 25,000 illnesses reported in 2004.
Experts say several factors are likely behind the climb including overseas travel, new germs, and a general increase in ticks and mosquitoes.
FOX 29's Dr. Mike Cirigliano says the key to avoiding these bites and illnesses is protecting yourself. If you're going out into a wooded area, wear long pants, and use bug sprays with DEET. Be sure to examine yourself after returning from areas where you're more likely to encounter these bugs.
Dr. Mike also recommends putting your clothes in the dryer to kill the bugs, and wash them thoroughly. You'll also want to check your hair and consider showering.
The types of illnesses that come with these bites, like Zika and Lyme disease, can be devastating and also hard to diagnose.