As autumn rolls around, the weather is perfect for taking long hikes and camping outdoors. It is also harvest season. It is the time of year when families head out to pick out pumpkins and apples, hike, camp, and spend a lot of time outdoors. With all of this activity, it is little wonder why ticks become a serious danger.
Ticks and Lyme Disease
Throughout the spring and summer, ticks have been feasting on various animals and humans. These parasites have had plenty of opportunities to get infected with Lyme disease. In fact, Lyme disease is 50 percent more prevalent in the fall, while only about 20 percent of ticks have this disease in the summer. The mix of increased outdoor activity and higher prevalence of Lyme disease is a recipe for disaster.
Protect Against Ticks
Don't waste your summer season hiding indoors! Though ticks are prevalent, they will not be a problem if you follow a few simple steps to protect yourself and your family. Start by using a tick repellent, which should include either lemon and eucalyptus or picardin oil. Both are natural and safe for human use, and are equally effective in protecting against ticks. If you have pets, especially dogs that will be joining in your fall activities, make sure that they have recently visited their vet for parasite control.
Identify Signs of Lyme Disease
Always check yourself for ticks after any outdoor activity. If you see a tick grab a pair of tweezers and fully remove the insect as soon as possible. Clean the area of the tick bite thoroughly to reduce the instance of contracting disease, and keep an eye out for Lyme disease rash. This will look like a bull’s-eye, all red and blotchy. If you have symptoms of Lyme disease, such as a headache, nausea, joint pain, muscle aches, or fatigue, seek medical attention immediately. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause cognitive decline and other neurological problems. For more information, please visit the CDC's web page on tick bites here.
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