Winter has always been a mixed blessing in Alaska. On one hand, this season is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors; on the other hand, it is also marked by shorter days. Southcentral Alaska, in particular, can expect to receive fewer than 10 hours of sunlight every day during winter. Alaska Dispatch News offers some ideas on how to make the most out of the season, like skiing in Hatcher Pass and hunting snowshoe hares off the Glenn Highway.
Those who choose the latter would need to be extra cautious, though, because these little critters are responsible for spreading one of Alaska’s most infectious diseases: tularemia. This ailment arises when one is exposed to Francisella tularensis, a bacterium commonly found in ticks that feed upon snowshoe hares. Although tularemia can be treated using antibiotics, people are still advised to handle snowshoe hares with caution. For severe symptoms, patients would do well to seek immediate treatment at an Eagle River urgent care center, such as Primary Care Associates, before it is too late.
According to Alaska’s Public Lands Information Centers, people are more likely to contract tularemia from May to September, which is when the disease-carrying ticks are most active. Tularemia itself is characterized by skin ulcers, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, and diarrhea (among other things). The disease is not that easy to diagnose based on symptoms alone, considering that other ailments like trichinosis share the same indicators. The only way for people to know whether or not they contracted the disease is to undergo a blood test as carried out by a renowned provider of urgent care in Eagle River, AK.
Tularemia is not necessarily fatal so long as the proper treatment is administered in time. That said, the key to recovery lies in early diagnosis because this simple bacterial infection can result in more serious conditions like pneumonia and meningitis. In addition, Alaska is not the only place where people can get tularemia. Southern states like New Mexico, for example, are also currently dealing with tularemia contagion due to infected rabbits, cats, and dogs.
While the threat of contracting tularemia remains, there are ways to fight off this bacterial infection. People only need to be recognize the symptoms early on, act fast, and seek urgent care at the first sign of trouble.
(Source: 10 ways to enjoy a snowless October outdoors despite dimming daylight, Alaska Dispatch News, October 14, 2014)