With the rising temperatures comes the return of outdoor pests — and as some of nature’s most deceptive critters, ticks can carry a multitude of diseases and health risks.
While not all ticks can spread disease and not all bites will make you sick, it’s still important to learn how to properly protect yourself against bites because the diseases that ticks carry are becoming more and more common.
Here are just a few ways to protect against tick-borne diseases, as recommended by the New York State Department of Health:
- Use insect repellant when spending time outdoors
- Wear light-colored clothes with a tight weave so that ticks can be easily spotted
- Wear enclosed shoes, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt; tuck your pant legs into your socks/boots and tuck your shirt into your pants
- Check your clothes frequently for ticks while outdoors
- Avoid sitting directly on the ground or on stone walls
- Take a shower or bath as soon as possible after going back indoors — preferably within two hours — to wash off and find ticks more easily
- Stay on cleared and well-traveled trails when hiking/walking in wooded or tick-borne areas
- Keep long hair tied back, especially when gardening
- Do a thorough full-body tick check at the end of the day — children and pets, too
Remember, ticks are most likely to live in shady, moist areas at ground level. They cling to tall grass, brush and shrubs that are typically between 18 and 24 inches off the ground. Ticks can also thrive in lawns and gardens, particularly at the edges of the woods and near old stone walls.
If you do spot a tick on your skin, it’s important to remove it promptly — click here to learn the safest and most efficient method.
If you develop a rash or flu-like symptoms after a tick bite, call your doctor immediately. While it’s not routinely recommended, taking antibiotics within three days of the bite can be beneficial.
For more information about preventing tick-borne illnesses, click here .
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