Spring’s early arrival isn’t just causing problems for allergy sufferers this year. It has also led to an explosion in the tick population. This is bad news for lovers of the outdoors as ticks can carry a number of diseases including Lyme disease. Follow these tips to protect yourself from tick bites this spring:
- If you plan to spend time in a wooded area or an area with tall grass and weeds, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Tuck your pant legs into the cuff of your socks to prevent ticks from crawling up under your clothing.
- Use insect repellent that contains 10-30% DEET. Spray primarily on your clothing rather than your skin, and be sure to wash off afterward.
- Check yourself for ticks every 2-3 hours. They typically will not transmit any disease until they have been attached for 4 hours or more.
- If you do find a tick, remove it promptly. Use tweezers rather than your hands. Grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible. Pull back firmly (don’t jerk it out). Then wash the area thoroughly with soap and water.
Lyme disease is often characterized by a circular rash that spreads out from the site of a tick bite. However, not everyone who contracts Lyme disease gets this characteristic rash. If you experience any unexplained illness accompanied by fever, see your doctor. Lyme disease can be effectively treated with antibiotics, but it’s easier to treat if detected early.