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Tips to avoid ticks

Tue September 6, 2011

DUPAGE COUNTY-Summer is winding down, but September can still be a warm month. It can also be a time when ticks are active. Therefore, the DuPage County Health Department reminds residents that they should be careful when they are outdoors on fall weekends in order to avoid ticks which carry Lyme disease and other illnesses.

Lyme disease is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected tick. The Health Department reported 14 cases of Lyme disease during the first six months of this year and 19 cases during 2010.

Here are some recommendations from the Health Department to protect yourself:

  • Use repellents that contain 20 percent or more DEET on the exposed skin for protection that lasts up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.

  • Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and remains protective for up to 70 washings.

Here are some additional suggestions from the Health Department to avoid 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.
  • Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas. Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.
  • Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs. Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks.

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Tips to avoid ticks