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What’s Going Around: Ticks becoming more active

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MONROE (WKOW) — It’s that time of year when ticks are more active. You can get a tick on you any time of the year, but they are most active from April to September.

Dr. David Rebedew with Monroe Clinic says ticks can cause serious illnesses like Lyme Disease. Your best defense is prevention. He offered these tips:

* Know where to expect ticks – avoid grassy, brushy or wooded area – or avoid animals who have spent time in these areas. You can get ticks in your own yard and from your own pets.

* Use insect repellents. There are several effective repellents on the market. You can check the EPA’s website, epa.gov, to see which repellent best suits your needs. Some repellents should not be used on toddlers or infants.

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. Put your clothes in the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing. If the clothes require washing, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks.

* Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and is a good opportunity to do a total body tick check.

* Check your body. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Check your body and your child’s body:

o Under the arms

o In and around the ears

o Inside the belly button

o Back of the knees

o In and around hair and scalp

o Around the waist

o Between the legs

* Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on pets and gear, then attach to a person later. Carefully check pets, coats, purses, blankets, etc.

If you do find a tick, the key is to remove it as soon as possible.  Dr. Rebedew says to use tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Pull upwards with steady, even pressure, but be sure not to twist or jerk the tick. Dr. Rebedew says that can cause the mouth parts to break off and stay in the skin. If that happens, remove the parts. If you can’t, Dr. Rebedew says to leave it alone and let the skin heal.

After you remove a tick, clean the bite area with soap and water. You can dispose of the tick by either putting it in alcohol, putting in a sealed bag or flushing it down the toilet.

Then, watch for symptoms. Dr. Rebedew says if you have fever, chills, aches, pains or a rash after removing a tick, see your healthcare provider.

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