During the summer months, frequent “tick checks” are essential.
“It is important to check for ticks after spending time outdoors because if a tick is not removed it can lead to the risk of getting Lyme disease,” says Paige Gernes, physician assistant, Mayo Clinic Health System in St. James. “Symptoms of Lyme disease can include rash, joint pain, headache, fever and potentially more serious complications.”
Ticks live in moist and humid environments, particularly wooded and grassy areas — some of the same places where you may be enjoying summer. Ticks get themselves into position by climbing up an object – called questing – and then stick out their legs, which allows them to grab onto hosts that walk by.
To lessen the chance of becoming a host, use insect repellent, tuck your pants into your socks, and remember to avoid areas where those questing ticks may be perched, such as tall grasses and brush.
“After you come inside, take time to check your full body for ticks, especially under the arms, around your ears, in your hair, behind your knees, between your legs and around your waist,” says Gernes. “After completing a full-body tick-check, we then recommend showering within two hours from coming indoors because that may help wash off any ticks that you may have missed.”
Lastly, remember to look over your clothing for any ticks you may have brought inside. Wash your clothes in hot water and tumble dry on high heat to kill any ticks that may be hiding.
Visit mayoclinichealthsystem.org for more information.