It is tick season. Those little creatures are quite terrifying to some people. Ticks are related to spiders and they carry pathogens that can cause diseases, such as Lyme Disease. So let's talk about what you can do to prevent tick bites.
Dr. Bobbi Pritt, director of the Clinical Parasitology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic, says ticks do not jump or fly. Instead, they crawl up the stems of grasses and grab onto animals that walk by. She says avoiding grassy areas is tip No. 1.
"Prevention methods depend on what you're doing," says Pritt. "If you're just walking on a path and avoiding the grassy areas off of the path, you may not need much in the way of precautions. But definitely check your clothes, body, kids and pets for ticks after that walk."
If you're going to be gardening, hiking or spending a lot of time outside in grassy areas, Pritt recommends that you:
- Tuck your pants into your socks and wear a long sleeve shirt if the weather is not too hot. The less skin you have exposed, the lower your chances are of getting bitten by a tick.
- Use a tick repellent that's been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and that contains DEET. Follow directions on the label and spray exposed skin.
- Saturate clothing with a tick repellent, such as permethrin.
If you do find a tick attached to your body, Pritt recommends using fine-tip tweezers to grasp the tick and pull it out. She says do not use kerosene, oil or fire to remove the tick. If the tick has been attached to your body for 24 to 36 hours or more, remove it and take it with you to your health care provider for advice.
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