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Protect Yourself from Lyme Disease

Do you love the great outdoors? We all know there are various plants that can irritate our skin and some animal bites we would prefer to avoid, and ticks are no exception.Lyme Disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks, small insects that rest on the tips of grasses and shrubs. To prevent tick bites, walk in the center of trails and avoid high grass and leaf litter. You can also use a repellent that contains 20-30% DEET on any exposed skin or clothing. When you come indoors, check your body for ticks and if you have pets, check them as well.Fortunately, if you remove a tick within 24 hours you can greatly reduce your chances of getting Lyme Disease. There’s no need to panic if you find a tick on your skin; the Center for Disease Control provides the following instructions to remove the tick:1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.4. Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.Symptoms of Lyme Disease include fever, headache, fatigue, and a skin rash. Most cases can be treated with success using antibiotics, but if left untreated the infection can spread to joints, the heart, and nervous system, so be sure to seek medical attention if you find a tick on your body.The risk of ticks and Lyme Disease shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the summer – take the recommended precautions and go have an adventure!

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