Don’t spoil your outdoor fun –take these simple precautions to keep ticks off your body:
1. Avoid tick infested areas – walk in the center of trails to avoid overhanging grass and brush.
2. Dress properly – protective clothing is the first line of defense against ticks. Wear long-sleeved, light-colored shirts, long pants, and boots with pants tucked into socks or boots. Rubber bands, blousing bands or tape can be used to secure the cuffs.
3. Do a thorough body check for ticks after spending time outdoors. The earlier the tick is located and removed, the less the chance of being infected with a tick-borne disease. When you are active outdoors never allow more than a few hours to pass without a tick inspection.
4. Apply insect repellent – use repellents containing 20 to 50 percent DEET as directed on the label. Spray repellents with permethrin on clothes only, not skin.
5. Do tick checks – examine clothing and skin frequently for ticks. Examine pets for ticks.
6. Carefully remove attached ticks immediately – ticks can infect in ten hours or less. Prompt treatment can prevent serious illness or death.
Take these steps to remove a tick:
1. Using tweezers, grasp tick near the mouth-parts, as close to skin as possible.
2. Pull tick firmly, straight out, away from skin. Do not jerk or twist the tick.
3. Do not use alcohol, matches, or petroleum jelly to remove a tick.
4. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
5. Tell your doctor you had a tick bite if you develop flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, fatigue, body aches, dizziness and rash. Symptoms are often mild, but they should not be ignored. Prompt treatment with antibiotics can prevent serious illness or even death.
For more information visit the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services at www.health.mo.gov and the CDC at cdc.gov/ticks/diseases/.
This article brought to you by Pike County Health Department, Home Health and Hospice, www.pikecountyhealth.org.