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7 ways to tell ticks off!

Don’t let these creepy crawlers make you sick.  

Summer is the perfect time for outdoor adventure — but it’s also prime time for ticks. These tiny bloodsuckers lurk in tall grass and thick brush. And they’re looking for hosts — like you — to feed on.

Ticks can be found across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They can spread many different diseases — including some serious illnesses. Yet many people don’t realize the danger.

Your best defense when out and about.

These 7 steps can help you avoid tick bites. They’re especially important in warm weather, when ticks are most active.

1. Watch where you walk. Stick to the center of hiking trails. Steer clear of high grass, leaf litter and wooded or brushy areas.

2. Cover up. Keep ticks off your skin by wearing:

  • Shoes that cover the whole foot.
  • Long pants tucked into your socks.
  • A long-sleeved shirt tucked into your pants.
  • A hat.

You can also spot ticks on your clothes more easily if you wear light colors.

3. Don’t be so tempting. Apply an insect repellent that contains DEET to clothing and exposed skin. Get more details on safe DEET use.

Get the DEETs on using repellents

Look for insect repellents with active ingredients registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Those with DEET offer the broadest protection. But repellents with picaridin or IR3535 can be effective against ticks too. Always follow the label instructions. Avoid bug spray on your face or on cuts, wounds or sunburned skin. Spray it on your hands first to apply it to your face.

Use extra care with kids. Keep bug spray out of the reach of children at all times. Adults should apply it to their hands — and then put it on the child, avoiding the child’s eyes and hands. Get more information and tips — from the American Academy of Pediatrics — on insect repellent for children.Opens a new window

4. Shower — and do a tick check. Make both a habit after coming indoors — especially after being in grassy or wooded areas.

Examine your entire body. If you find an embedded tick, remove it right away. That may lower your risk of getting sick from the bite.

5. Debug your clothes. After you’ve been outdoors, kill any ticks that might be clinging to your clothing. It’s easy enough: Place items in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes. Add more time for damp clothes.

6. Tick-proof your yard. Keep your grass cut short — and clear away brush and leaves. Also stack wood neatly in a dry place to keep away rodents. They can carry ticks too.

7. Be a good pet parent. Don’t let ticks hitchhike into your home on Whiskers or Rascal. Pets who go outside should be checked daily for ticks. And ask your vet about products that may help keep pets tick-free.

Watch for warning signs.

Tick-borne diseases tend to share certain symptoms — and they may tip you off to an infection. Symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever or chills
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Rash

If it’s Lyme disease, early treatment can help prevent complications such as arthritis, nervous system problems and heart rhythm issues. So tell your doctor right away if there’s any chance you might be sick from a tick.

What to do next

In case you need it, keep this tick-removal how-to handy.

And find out what kinds of ticks may be hanging out in your region.Opens a new window  

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