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How to Avoid Disease-Carrying Ticks When Outdoors

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month and this year there may be more ticks than last year.

Want to go to with the family? Virginia health departments are reminding residents to be vigilant of ticks as part of Lyme Disease Awareness month.

This year's tick population may be unusually high because of the mild winter and warm spring—ticks are active earlier and people are spending more time outside, the NBC Nightly News reported.

In addition, a good acorn crop two years ago and a poor crop last year also impacted the white-footed mouse population in some areas of the country, and the mice are a prime food source for ticks, MSNBC reported.

The health department reminds residents that Lyme disease is spread through the bite of an infected backlegged tick, or deer tick.

How to protect yourself, from the  Fairfax County Health Department:

  • Avoid direct contact with ticks in wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. Walk in the center of trails.
  • Repellents with DEET can be applied to exposed skin to help repel ticks. Follow the label instructions.
  • Wear long, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.  Tuck your pants into your socks and your shirt into your pants so ticks don't have easy access to your skin.
  • Use permethrin on clothing. Permethrin kills ticks and there are formulations to treat your clothes sold at sporting goods stores. Follow the instructions on the label.
  • Check for ticks. While outside, take breaks to check yourself for ticks. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.
  • Promptly remove any attached ticks. Don’t panic if you find an attached tick.
  • Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine animals, coats, and backpacks.
Concerned Citizen May 18, 2012 at 02:15 AM
I would love to see the city sponsor a showing of the lastest Lyme Disease documentary 'Under Our Skin'.......it really sheds more light on the dangers of Lyme...was surprised to see a Tick/Lyme table set up at Cougar's Fun Run....personally I think the city/school should be doing more to keep kids safe while they roam thru the track/grass, and Camp Corondelet.

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