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Tue, Oct. 15

Stop ticks from ruining summer outings

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

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that some of the diseases that you can get from a tick bite include:

• Lyme disease

• Rocky Mountain

spotted fever

• Colorado tick fever

• Tick-borne relapsing

fever

Some species 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). Ticks also feed on mammals and birds, which play a role in maintaining ticks and the pathogens they carry.

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

• Know where to expect ticks and always walk in the center of trails to avoid them.

• Use a repellent with DEET (on skin or clothing) or permethrin (on clothing) and wear long sleeves, long pants and socks. 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 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.

• When checking for ticks - whether it's on you or your child - look under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, around the head, between the legs and around the waist.

Your risk of acquiring a tick-borne illness depends on many factors, but if you become ill after a tick bite, see a physician immediately.

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