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Ticks and Lyme Disease

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Ticks and Lyme Disease

This year, happens to be another record high tick season. If you’re not familiar with Ticks, ticks are pesky small arachnid insects, similar to mites. They live by feeding on the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles and amphibians. And, they also carry Lyme Disease. A recent CDC study found that cases of Lyme increased more than 80% in the last two years and that there are an estimated 300,000+ cases of Lyme infection in the U.S. each year.

 

Lyme Disease is caused by bacteria transmitted to humans through a bite from an infected tick (black-legged or deer ticks). Lyme Disease can occur anywhere from 3 to 30 days after the bite and can have a wide-range of symptoms depending on the stage of the infection. In some cases, symptoms can appear months after the bite and are often undiagnosed due to the wide range of symptoms the disease can cause.

 

With the influx of ticks this year, the following bullets outline how you can prevent tick bites, ultimately leading to lyme disease.

 

Before You Go Outdoors

  • Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals. Spending time outside walking your dog, camping, gardening, or hunting could bring you in close contact with ticks. Many people get ticks in their own yard or neighborhood.
  • Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone.
    • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.
    • Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.
  • Avoid Contact with Ticks
    • Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
    • Walk in the center of trails.

After You Come Indoors

  • Check your clothing for ticks. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing. Any ticks that are found should be removed. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks.
  • Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and daypacks.
  • Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease and may be effective in reducing the risk of other tick-borne diseases. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.
  • Check your body for ticks after being outdoors. Conduct a full body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, including your own backyard. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:
  • Under the arms
  • In and around the ears
  • Inside belly button
  • Back of the knees
  • In and around the hair
  • Between the legs
  • Around the waist

tick-check

Here in Colorado, we’re pretty active people. Make sure you check for ticks after your outdoor adventures. And if you find one or think you’ve been bitten, talk to your doctor and make sure to tell them what happened.

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