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Watch Out for Ticks This Summer
by Lenee Svorec | Jul 19, 2017    Share

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Just like people, ticks get more active as the weather gets warmer. Be sure to take steps to protect yourself against picking up ticks when you're outdoors this summer.

It’s important to know that ticks come in a variety of sizes, sometimes as small as a sesame seed. If you find a tick that isn't attached, it is important to quickly remove it before it has a chance to latch on.

If the tick is attached, it’s important to monitor yourself, your children, or your pet for symptoms of infection for 30 days after the removal of the tick. Symptoms of infection are general flu-like symptoms, headache, fever, and in the case of Lyme disease, may include a bulls-eye rash that is at least two inches in diameter that expands over time.
It's also a good idea to keep the tick so it can be tested for germs in case you develop symptoms. Place the tick in a dry jar or sealed plastic bag and save it in the freezer for testing later if necessary.

To protect yourself from a tick-borne infection, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend you:

  • Avoid places with thick vegetation, high grass, and leaf litter.
  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after potential exposure, to wash off ticks before they bite.
  • Dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended.
  • Ticks can come into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs.
  • If the clothes can't be washed in hot water, tumble dry on low heat for 90 minutes or high heat for 60 minutes. The clothes should be warm and completely dry.
  • Remove all attached ticks as soon as possible.
  • Treat dogs and cats with products that kill and/or repel ticks.
  • Use products that contain permethrin to treat clothing and gear -- such as boots, pants, socks and tents -- or wearing clothing pre-treated with permethrin.
  • Use repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours.
  • Walk in the center of trails when hiking.

No method of preventing ticks is foolproof – make sure to check yourself, your kids and your pets for ticks after being outdoors. For more information about ticks, tick-borne diseases, and prevention visit our health library

Truven 2017

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