The ABCs of Avoiding Ticks

With the coming of warmer weather, you’ll want to be on the lookout for ticks – especially this year. According to Dr. Bobbi Pritt, a parasitic diseases expert from the Mayo Clinic, the relatively mild winter we’ve just had means that the ticks are going to be out early.

“The ticks will just burrow under the leaf litter and hang out for the winter,” Pritt says in a broadcast interview with the Mayo News Network. ”As soon as the ground thaws and the snows melt, they will come out – and they are going to be hungry.”

Bad news for us. But Pritt says you can protect yourself by using the ABCs of tick prevention:

“A is for Avoid. You want to know where ticks are found so [you can] avoid those areas – tall grasses, shrubs. Ticks can’t fly, they can’t jump, but they can crawl up vegetation and they extend their legs and they wait for something to come by.”

Next, Pritt suggests bug spray (B) and recommends one with DEET.

And C is for clothing – make sure you don’t leave skin exposed to ticks. That means long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

If you are bitten by a tick, the Mayo experts say, look for signs that you are infected with Lyme Disease, a common and potentially serious tick-borne ailment.

Symptoms include a red rash in the shape of a bullseye, a fever, chills and body aches. If you experience any of these, Mayo says, see a doctor right away.

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