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Category: Living Well Published on Tuesday, 09 July 2013 09:20 Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
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According Matthew Sims, M.D. Ph.D., director of Infectious Disease Research at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Lyme disease has been confirmed in parts of the Upper Peninsula and western part of the state. "The deer tick population has been slowly moving east from the along the western edge of the state. The growing tick population seen in the rest of Michigan is mostly dog ticks, which do not carry Lyme."
Fortunately there are some precautions to avoid being bitten:
Educate yourself - Know where to expect ticks, what environment they thrive in and the symptoms of a tick bite. The Michigan Emerging Disease website has many resources on tick prevention. The website also offers images of ticks in the area, as well as images of tick bites and symptoms of Lyme disease.
Use a DEET-based repellent - Use a repellent on all exposed area of skin. Repellent should be applied regularly and consistently.
Wear closed-toe shoes and light-colored clothes - Wearing sandals or slippers leaves your feet exposed to ticks. Light colored clothing allows you to better spot ticks that may be attached to clothing.
Tuck pants into socks - The best way to avoid ticks is to leave a minimal amount of skin exposed. By tucking pants into socks, you are sealing off a potential crevasse that ticks can crawl into and hide.
Walk in the center of trails - By walking in the center of the trail, you reduce exposure to tall grass and other greens, where ticks may be hiding.
Check body, clothes and pets for ticks - It is important to check all clothing and body for ticks. In addition, clothing can be put in the dryer on high heat which will kill ticks. It is important to conduct a full body check when you return from a potentially tick-infested area; if alone, use a mirror to check body parts not in normal sight. Be sure to check on the scalp and in beards because ticks can hide under hair. Remember to check your pets as they can carry the ticks inside and expose people who aren't out in the areas ticks are commonly seen.
Shower after entering inside - Showering within two hours after leaving the outdoors can wash away ticks that are on you but have not yet attached.
If bitten by a tick, the goal is to remove it quickly and effectively. Use tweezers to hold the tick and pull upward with steady and even pressure. The goal is to remove the whole tick and not have pieces of the tick's body remain in the skin. After it has been removed, clean the bitten area with water, alcohol or iodine and soap and water. Monitor that area to check for rashes or other changes in the bite mark.
"To determine the type of tick and if it carries any diseases, after removing the tick put it into a closed container and talk to your doctor, who can arrange for a lab to examine it," says Dr. Sims.
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