Summer Fun Guide
Illnesses Are Rising
May - July is Prime Time
adult female on
left, nymph on right.
are increasingly developing tick-borne illnessesmost commonly
disease due to ever-changing ecosystems and continued
residential development in the countryside.
And because May through July is when most tick-borne infections occur, experts are reminding consumers now to use measures that can help prevent Lyme and other diseases from ticks.
are moving into wooded rural areas, which are prime tick habitats
around the country, says Marc Dolan, entomologist with the
Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention. He says there are a number of tick-borne
diseases in America and ticks can transmit multiple infections.
Lyme, which is transmitted by the bite of a deer
tick, is increasing also because the white-tailed
deer population, which is a host for the bacteria that cause
Lyme disease, is growing and spreading geographically.
The CDC reports a dramatic increase in Lyme over the past decade, from 11,700 cases in 1995 to 21,304 last year. While reporting has improved, the CDC says Lyme still is greatly underreported. Most prevalent in the Northeast and upper Midwest, Lyme is found nationwide.
Tick-borne diseases can be found all across the country, and Lyme has been reported in every state except Montana, says Pat Smith, president of the Lyme Disease Association. Two of her daughters developed Lyme and one became so ill she could not attend school for four years.
disease can be devastating if not treated early, another tick-borne
Mountain spotted fever, can be fatal. RMSF is most common
in the South, despite its name, with the highest incidence in
North Carolina and Tennessee.
Simple, Effective Preventative
"To repel ticks, the CDC recommends using DEET products with a concentration of 20 percent to 30 percent..."
Experts suggest some simple but effective measures to help protect
against tick bites.
When you're in the woods, or even in your backyard, from early May to early July, when the nymphal (young) ticks that carry Lyme disease are most active, you should use a repellent such as DEET on exposed skin and clothing, Dolan says. Young ticks are very small and difficult to spot, which is another reason why Lyme disease is such a problem.
To repel ticks, the CDC recommends using DEET products with a concentration of 20 percent to 30 percent. Repellent makers say that, based on extensive testing, 15 percent DEET can repel ticks. Dolan suggests applying a permethrin-based product on clothing (permethrin should never be applied to skin). It is helpful to wear light-colored clothing to more easily spot ticks and wear long pants with the cuffs tucked under the socks.
Dolan strongly recommends performing a thorough tick check after coming indoors from a tick-infested area. That's because if a tick is attached to the skin for less than 24 hours, the possibility of infection is extremely low. Tick checks involve closely examining clothing and skin for ticks, with special attention to the ears, in and around the hair, under the arms, behind the knees, around the waist and between the legs.
When an attached
tick is found, it's critical to detach it properly using
tweezers because incorrect removal can make infection more likely.
for removal instructions.
DEET-Based Repellents are the Gold Standard
DEET has been the gold standard for effectiveness against mosquitoes, ticks and many other insects for nearly 50 years, says Susan Little, executive director of the DEET Education Program. No repellents in the world have been used more often or studied more thoroughly than DEET-based products, Little says. She urges consumers to read and follow label instructions carefully.
When applied with common sense, DEET-based repellents can be expected to provide a safe as well as long-lasting repellent effect, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002. The American Academy of Pediatrics says repellents containing up to 30 percent DEET can be used on children over two months of age to help protect against insect and tick bites.
Kroeger Associates - News Wise