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Preventing Tick Bites
Long pants, socks and insect repellant help protect you from ticks

By Robert Preidt

FRIDAY, MAY 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Hikers, campers, gardeners and other Americans are flocking outdoors to enjoy the warm weather, and they need to take steps to protect themselves from tick bites, cautions an expert.

Ticks love the warm weather, too, and can transmit Lyme disease and other types of infections to people through their bite. Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to prevent tick bites, according to Stephen Wikel, professor and chair of the department of medical sciences at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.

Wear long pants and tuck them in to high socks. It's also a good idea to wrap duct tape -- sticky-side out -- around where your pants and socks meet. The tape will trap ticks that try to crawl onto you.

Adults should use an insect repellant that contains less than 40 percent DEET. But, children should use a repellant with no more than 30 percent DEET, Wikel said. Another option is to buy clothing treated with insect repellant. Such products can be bought online and in sporting goods shops.

Reduce the tick threat around your home by eliminating habitats that attracts rodents, deer and other tick-carriers. Keep your lawn trimmed and use wood chips, mulch or gravel to eliminate tall grasses and create barriers between the woods and your home.

It's also a good idea to get rid of wood piles and stones that provide shelter for tick-carrying mice, chipmunks and squirrels, Wikel advised.

After being outdoors, do a thorough check for ticks. If you find one, gently lift it with thin forceps or tweezers, and use a magnifying glass to see what you are doing. Your goal is to remove the tick intact.

It's important to know what type of tick you're dealing with. You can do this by placing it in a Ziploc bag and bringing the tick to your doctor or local health department, Wikel said.

Be sure your dog or cat wears a flea collar or gets anti-flea/tick treatments, which are highly effective in protecting pets against ticks. Check your pet for ticks when they come in from outdoors so ticks don't crawl off your pets and on to you.

You won't always know if you've been bitten by a tick. A bulls-eye rash indicating a Lyme disease infection appears less than 60 percent of the time. Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache and fatigue, according to Wikel.

Left untreated, the infection can spread to the joints, heart or nervous system. Early treatment with antibiotics can cure Lyme disease, he said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about ticks.

SOURCE: Quinnipiac University, news release, May 18, 2014

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=687954

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
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The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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