Advice for avoiding & treating tick bites

- Dr. Francesca Decker of Highland Family Medicine discussed some tips for avoiding and treating tick bites Thursday on News 8 at Sunrise.

Dr. Decker said ticks carry bacteria that cause infection, the most common of which is Lyme Disease.  She said incidents of Lyme Disease are on the rise in Monroe County with 40 documented cases in 2012, compared to four cases ten years earlier.

When it comes to avoiding tick bites, Dr. Decker offered this advice:

Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass when hiking
Walk in the center of trails
Use bug spray with 20-30% Deet, avoiding mouth, eyes and hands (wash if necessary)
Wear light-colored clothing, long sleeves and pants when hiking, tuck pants into socks
Conduct a tick check on people, pets and gear after travel in tick-infested areas
Dry clothing on high heat in a dryer for one hour to kill a tick on clothing

If you are bitten, Dr. Decker recommends the following:

Remove the tick carefully and right away
Seal the tick in a container for your doctor
Wash your hands with soap and water afterward
Call your doctor if you can't get all of the tick off or if you begin to suffer symptoms
Call 911 if you have trouble breathing, severe headache, can't move your arms or legs, or get chest pain

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