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With summer in full swing, many of us are hearing that someone we know has contracted Lyme Disease. This tick-born disease afflicts 300,000 Americans in new cases each year.
Most of us are familiar with wood ticks, which are larger and easier to spot than the ticks that carry Lyme Disease. Wood ticks are dark brown with silver-grey or whitish coloring on their backs. They are approximately 3-5 millimeters long; if they have just eaten they may be as long as 10 millimeters. The back of a deer tick, which may carry Lyme Disease, is a solid color. Deer ticks are about half the size of wood ticks.
The best way to avoid Lyme Disease is to avoid the ticks that are the carriers. Here are some of the things you can do.
Leave no skin exposed
Cover your skin with long pants, long-sleeve t-shirts, and socks and shoes when in heavily wooded areas or in tall grass. Be sure to shower when you return home, and check your body for ticks.
Use tick repellant
Spray your clothes, hat and shoes with tick repellant for added protection and to repel ticks.
Treat your outside living areas
Spread the granular substances sold in hardware stores that kill ticks in your lawn. Spread also to the outer edges of your property beyond your lawn. These substances, also sold to kill grubs, are safe for children and pets.
Check your pets often
Dogs and cats are prone to getting ticks in their fur which often are hard to find. Make sure to thoroughly check your pets when they have been in areas where ticks may be present. Consider investing in a dog collar that repels ticks.
If you find a tick on your body that you suspect might carry Lyme Disease, seek medical attention.