Spring is in full swing, May has arrived, and for me, camping season has begun! Among the many things that I need to get done to open up my camper and place the thousands of silly lawn ornaments around the year (okay, not really that many), there are things to think about, like keeping safe from the dreaded tick.

Not only me and my wife, but our three dogs as well. Since we camp out in the country, ticks are abundant, especially in Pennsylvania where we camp. Recently, the Chenango County Health Department listed some good information about keeping safe from ticks that I'd like to share here because they can pose serious health risks.

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Ticks can bring on Lyme Disease, and if untreated, health problems can arise. The earlier a person is treated the better chance of recovery. How can you best avoid ticks? Here are some tips from the Chenango County Health Department:

  • Wear light-colored clothing with a tight weave to spot ticks easily. Wear enclosed shoes, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and shirt into pants.
  • Check clothes and any exposed skin frequently for ticks while outdoors.
  • Consider using insect repellent. Always read and carefully follow the instructions on product labels.
  • Stay on cleared, well-traveled trails. Walk in the center of the trails. Avoid dense woods and bushy areas.
  • Avoid sitting directly on the ground or stone walls.
  • Keep long hair tied back, especially when gardening.
  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after going indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that may be on you.
  • Do a final, full-body tick check at the end of the day (also check children & pets) and remove ticks promptly.

If you find a tick on your body, grasp the tick by the head or mouth parts ONLY, where they enter the skin with a pair of tweezers. Pull steadily outward. Don't twist the tick. That's a mistake that some make.

Clean your wound and kill the tick with rubbing alcohol. You can call your local health department to report the tick. For more information, contact the Chenango County Health Department at 607-337-1660 or your local healthcare provider.

Stay safe and have a fun outdoor spring, summer, and fall season!

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