How to Spot Ticks and Prevent Lyme Disease

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. An infectious disease specialist shares tips on how to avoid ticks as more people spend time outside during the pandemic.

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CLEVELAND – With more people spending time outside during the pandemic, doctors say it’s important to keep an eye out for ticks – which can transmit Lyme disease.

“It’s actually good that more people are out doing things, being physically active and so forth, we just want them to be safe and want to encourage them to continue to do so,” said Alan Taege, MD, infectious disease specialist for Cleveland Clinic.

Ticks are most active during the warmer months. So what can you do to keep those little critters off of you this summer? Dr. Taege said for starters, use tick repellent or bug spray that has “DEET” in it.

It can also be helpful to wear light-colored clothes, that way it’s easier to examine yourself. He said the less skin exposure, the better.

If you do find a tick on your skin, use a pair of fine-nose tweezers to remove it, but be careful not to squeeze it. If you do, Dr. Taege said you could cause bacteria from the tick to go into your bite wound.

“If you check yourself after every time you are outside and you see it early on, you’re unlikely to contract any illness from it. Because particularly Lyme disease, the tick needs to be attached almost 36 hours before it infects you,” explained Dr. Taege.

He said if you start to notice any symptoms, which include a rash, often in a bulls-eye pattern, contact your physician right away.

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