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How to avoid tick bites

Deer ticks like moist and humid conditions and shade. While it is a good idea to take preventive measures against ticks year-round, be extra vigilant between April and August, when ticks, often the size of a poppy seed, are most active. Even if you do not recall being bitten by a tick, call a doctor if you experience an unexpected summer fever or odd rash after being in a tick-infested area.

Avoid shady areas within five feet of tall grass, heavy leaf litter, and brushy vegetation.

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Walk in the center of trails.

Use permethrin tick repellent on shoes, clothing, and gear. Its protection lasts through several washings. Applying repellents containing DEET on skin can provide added protection.

Throw clothes into a hot dryer for 10 minutes after being in tick habitat, before washing. Washing clothes first does not kill ticks.

Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors to more easily find ticks that are crawling on or attached to you.

Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror. Parents should check their children’s hair, under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, and around the waist.

Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing, gear, and pets, then attach to a person later.

Ensure you are using products on your pet that can quickly kill ticks.

Remember that ticks can be active on warm winter days.

SOURCES: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; tickencounter.org

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