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Published on May 05, 2011

Stop Ticks

May 5, 2011

Gardening, camping, hiking, just playing outdoors – these are all great spring and summertime activities, but don't forget about the ticks that may be in the same environment. Fortunately, there are several tactics you can use to prevent tick bites and reduce your risk of tick-borne disease.

Some of the more common diseases that you can get from a tick bite include:

  • Babesiosis
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Lyme disease
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Southern tick-associated rash illness
  • Tick-borne relapsing fever
  • Tularemia

Some species and some life stages of ticks are so small that they can be difficult to see, but all hungrily look for animals and people to bite. Depending on the species, you can find ticks in various environments, often in or near wooded areas. You may come into contact with ticks when walking through infested areas or by brushing up against infested vegetation (such as leaves or shrubs).

Tick-borne diseases can occur worldwide.   When you’re outside this spring and summer, prevent tick bites and reduce your risk of tick-borne disease by following these tips.

  • Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in moist and humid environments, particularly in or near wooded or grassy areas. You may come into contact with ticks during outdoor activities around your home or when walking through vegetation. Always walk in the center of trails to avoid ticks.
  • Use a repellent with DEET (on skin or clothing) or permethrin (on clothing) and wear long sleeves, long pants and socks. Products containing permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear which can remain protective through several washings. Repellents containing 20% or more DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) can be applied to the skin, and they can protect up to several hours. Always follow product instructions! Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding the hands, eyes, and mouth.
  • Wear light-colored clothing, which allows you to see ticks crawling on your clothing.
  • Tuck your pant legs into your socks so that ticks cannot crawl up inside of your pant legs. Some ticks can crawl down into shoes and are small enough to crawl through most socks.

Check your body for ticks after being outdoors, even in your own yard. Conduct a body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas by searching your entire body for ticks. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body and remove any tick you find.

Places to check for ticks include: under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button and back of the knees. Remove any tick you find on your child's body.

Check your clothing and pets for ticks. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing and pets. Both should be examined carefully, and any ticks that are found should be removed. Placing clothes into a dryer on high heat effectively kills ticks.

What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Tick 

Remove an attached tick as soon as you notice it. Watch for signs of illness such as rash or fever, and see a health care provider if these develop. Your risk of acquiring a tick-borne illness depends on many factors, including where you live, what type of tick bit you, and how long the tick was attached. If you become ill after a tick bite, see a health care provider.

Source: Centers For Disease Control

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