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Tips on Dealing with Ticks and Hiking

Watch Out For: Ticks

Exercising in the woods is perfect in the Summer because the challenging terrain offers you a tough workout, but the trees provide shade to prevent overheating. When on the trail you need not only to watch out for poison ivy, but be on the lookout for ticks as well. These little buggers are small, but their bites have the ability to transmit diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, Lyme disease, and other tick-borne illnesses. Blacklegged ticks (deer ticks), lone star ticks, and American dog ticks are all on the list of things you don't want touching your body.

To prevent ticks from landing on you and attaching to your skin, wear long sleeves, pants, and tall socks that cover your shins. Lighter colored clothing will make it easier to spot these dark bugs so you can flick them off. If it's too hot for all those clothes, then spray yourself with bug repellent. Also avoid walking in tall grassy areas. Be especially cautious in May, June, and July when ticks are most active. After an excursion in an area that's known for ticks, check yourself or have someone else check your skin — don't forget your armpits, scalp, and groin.

To find out what you should do if you see a tick stuck to your body

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Remove the tick from your skin by using tweezers. Don't smother the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, and don't use a hot match. You want to avoid crushing the tick to ensure that the disease-causing bacterium stays inside the tick's body. Pull the tick out and if the mouthparts are still in your skin, pull those out too. Wash the area with soapy warm water. If a tick has latched on to you and it's been less than 24 hours, your risk of contracting a disease is fairly low. Monitor the bitten area as well as your overall symptoms over the next few weeks, just to be sure.

Is it just me, or does anyone else get itchy just looking at the images of ticks?

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