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Have a Happy & Healthy Summer While Preventing Tick Bites

family-walking-through-the-woods.wisegeek.com_It’s the best time of year to enjoy the great outdoors, either at the  cottage, camping, canoeing or just going for a nice walk in the woods. While you’re enjoying yourself, it’s important to understand the potential risks of Lyme disease and how to protect yourself.

Lyme Disease is a growing concern for those who love the outdoors. But understanding what causes the disease and how to reduce the chances of infection help stay safe and healthy.

Adult_deer_tickIt is spread by an infected insect call a blacklegged tick. When the tick bites a human, the human becomes infected. The ticks are very small, approximately the size of a sesame seed and vary in colour from grey to dark brown. Tick bites are painless and only infected ticks spread the disease. If you find a tick under your skin and it is removed within 24-36 hours, you probably will not be infected.

If Lyme disease is not diagnosed and treated early, it may become late-stage or chronic. Lyme disease may spread to any part of the body and affect any body system.

Early symptoms include; flu-like illness (fever, chills, sweats, muscle aches, fatigue, nausea and joint pain), possible bull’s-eye shaped rash or even Bell’s palsy (facial drooping).

The Best Way to Protect Yourself

  1. Wear closed-toe shoes, long-sleeved shirts and pants
  2. Pull socks over pant legs
  3. Wear light-coloured clothes to spot ticks easier
  4. Use insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin
  5. Shower or bathe within 2 hours of being outdoors to wash away loose ticks
  6. Do a daily “full-body” check for ticks on yourself, children and pets

Around the House or Cottage – Reduce the Risk:

  • Keep grass mowed
  • Remove leaf litter, brush and weeds
  • Keep firewood piles and bird feeders away from the house
  • Keep your pets, particularly dogs, out of the woods and consider tick repellents
  • Move children’s swing sets and sandboxes away from the woodland’s edge and place them on a woodchip or mulch foundation

Now that you have a knowledge about ticks and Lyme disease, you can protect yourself and be certain to have a fun and healthy summer.