Thursday, June 7, 2012

Protect You and Your Family from Lyme Disease

Every year, Lyme Disease affects thousands of Americans across the country. The cause of these cases? Ticks carrying the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme Disease.

Ticks are small insects that feed on blood. Many attach themselves to fur-coated animals like deer and even your family dog or cat. They’re typically found in wooded areas or anywhere there is long grass and vegetation.

Though ticks are tiny and sometimes hard to spot, there are several ways you and your family can prevent tick bites.

1. Know where to find ticks. Most species, like deer ticks, live in tall grass and vegetation. Or simply in shrubs around your home.

2. Use an insect repellent with DEET. This will keep ticks away for several hours.

3. Check your body for ticks after coming in from outside, even if it’s just your own yard. Pay special attention to:

• Under arms
• In and around ears
• Backs of knees
• Between legs
• Around waist

If you do find a tick, don’t panic. Not all of them carry Lyme Disease. To remove the tick, use a pair of pointed tweezers and grasp the tick by the head, right where it enters the skin. Pull firmly and steadily upward. Do not twist it out or apply petroleum jelly to get it to try and back out. When the tick is removed, place it in a small dish of alcohol to kill it, and then clean the wound with disinfectant.

Monitor the site of the bite for the appearance of a rash. If a rash or other early symptoms of Lyme Disease, such as generalized achiness, headaches, or stiff neck appear, contact your physician.

Remember, you can still enjoy the great outdoors this summer if you take a few extra steps to protect yourself and your family from ticks.

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