How to Keep Ticks Away

Summer isn’t all ice cream cones and sunshine–it also marks tick season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have estimated that state health departments across the country have reported approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease. Deer ticks are associated with the transmission of Lyme disease.

According to the CDC, a few early signs and symptoms of this disease (which can appear in the time frame of 3 to 30 days after the initial bite) are: “fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes,” the Erythema migrans (EM) rash may also appear during this period. The rash begins around the site of the bite and gradually expands. The rash typically occurs in 70 to 80 percent of people infected with Lyme disease.

After the initial tick bite, sufferers may also experience:

“Severe headaches and neck stiffness; additional EM rashes on other areas of the body; Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints; facial palsy (loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face); intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones; heart palpitations or an irregular heart beat (Lyme carditis); episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath; inflammation of the brain and spinal cord; nerve pain; shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet, problems with short-term memory.”

The simplest way to limit exposure to Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites by utilizing an effective insect repellent. The CDC recommends the use of insect repellents containing DEET and oil of lemon eucalyptus. The CDC also recommended the treatment of clothing with permethrin to repel ticks. While repellents containing DEET should not be used on children under age 2, these repellents usually provide the best protection. The active ingredient alone does not repel insects, but the concentration of the repellent is what determines its effectiveness., the proper (and safe) way to apply bug spray is:

  1. Have a Good Spray: Use a Slow Sweeping Motion
    • What not to do:
    • Don’t apply your protection out of order. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that sunscreen go on first, followed by insect repellent.
    • Don’t apply on cuts, wounds, or irritated or sunburned skin.
    • Don’t spray in enclosed areas. Spray outdoors.
  2. Get Even: Use Hands to Evenly Moisten Exposed Skin
  3. Face Facts: Apply to Face with Control
    • Whether you’re protecting your face or children’s faces, this is about applying the product with control. Spray the palm of your hand first, then use just enough to apply to the face and around the ears. Avoid eyes and mouth entirely.
  4. Kids: You’ve Got to Hand it to Them
    • Keep OFF!® repellent out of children’s reach. Don’t allow children to handle the product themselves and don’t apply it directly to their hands. Instead, follow the same “hands first” method. Spray the palm of your hand first, then put the product on children.
  5. Wear It Well: Applying OFF!® Repellent to Clothing
    • Mosquitoes can bite through clothing that is not woven tightly enough. Applying repellent to clothing helps prevent bites. Spray shirts, pants, socks and hats―but don’t spray under clothing. To help protect against ticks and chiggers, apply to cuffs, sleeve openings, socks and other openings in outer clothing. Wash all treated clothing before wearing it again.

Additional precaution and prevention measures should include wearing long sleeves, closed toed shoes, and long pants tucked into high socks. Some companies have also developed clothing, such as socks and shirts with permethrin incorporated into the fibers of the fabric to help repel ticks as well.

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