Tips to find and fight ticks on kids, pets
The National Wildlife Federation says there's a population explosion of ticks in New Hampshire, where some moose are infested with more than 100,000 of them! And researchers in St. Louis found that a quarter of squirrels carried ticks that transmit Lyme disease. Are Rocky and Bullwinkle putting you at increased risk for tick-borne illnesses? That depends on where you are.
Black-legged or deer ticks can transmit babesiosis (most cases are in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Wisconsin) and Lyme disease (96 percent of the 30,000 annual cases are in the Northeast and upper Midwest). The dog tick transmits Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever; 60 percent of around 2,000 reported cases annually happen in North Carolina, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri. The Lone Star tick is in the news: An Oklahoma man died of the Heartland virus after being bitten; less-serious cases have been reported in Tennessee and Missouri.
If you develop a rash, fever, headache, joint or muscle pain, or swollen lymph nodes within 30 days of any tick bite, go to your doctor (sooner is better) to KO the disease. But to avoid being bitten:
1. Use DEET-based insect repellant (adult-strength 30 percent; kids 10 percent or less).
2. Wear light-colored clothing with long sleeves, and tuck pants into socks when in grassy/wooded areas.
3. Examine clothes, legs and arms for ticks before entering the house. Then head to the shower; check your whole body. See something? Use a tick-removal kit.
4. Check pets' fur thoroughly when they re-enter the house.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.
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