While some tick-borne diseases can be fatal if left untreated, most can be effectively cured with strong antibiotics. By far the best tick protection is prevention.
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According to the TickEncounter Resource Center at the University of Rhode Island, Clothing-only repellents and daily checks are some of the most effective ways to protect a tick-borne disease. The easiest way to stay protected is to remove a tick before it get a chance to transmit disease. Because ticks can attach anywhere, you should check your entire body for ticks and remove them immediately, because ticks do not wash off in the shower. TickEncounter Resource Center also noted that tucking pant into socks is a good way to keep ticks off. The center also pointed out tick repellent clothing, which is clothing with built-in repellent as a good way to effectively prevent ticks. As spring approaches and with summer just around the corner, ticks become more and more active, it’s time to be extra careful in the warmer months from May to August.
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1. Wear hats, long pants and shirts with long sleeves whenever you go out into woods and fields.
2. Spray your skin and clothes with tick repellent often. When you get home, strip down, shake out your clothes and do a complete body check, paying close attention to your hair line, crotch and under your arms.
3. If ticks are found, carefully remove them with a pair of tweezers or a tick remover with a slow and soft pull and counter-clockwise twist, being careful not to pinch the head off in your skin if you have been bitten.
4. If you begin having symptoms or develop a rash near the bite area, seek medical attention.
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This article was originally published in the NEW PIONEER ™ Spring 2015 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.