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Avoiding Tick Bites

Try these tips:

  • Wear light-colored long pants, so it’s easier to spot ticks.
  • Tuck your pants into your socks or high-top boots or tape them to boots.
  • Wear a hat and long-sleeved shirt, tucked in.
  • Spray or rub insect repellent on the tops of boots, exposed area of socks, and pants openings (inside cuffs, waistband, and fly).
  • Use insect repellant with DEET on your exposed skin.
  • If your pets go outside, check them regularly for ticks so they don't bring them in the house.

Removing a Tick

If a tick is attached to the body, pull it out slowly with sharply pointed tweezers as close to the skin (and its head) as possible. Here's what not to do

  • Don't use bare hands.
  • Don't twist it out.
  • Don't use heat, petroleum jelly, or any other products to remove it.
  • Don't burn it with a match.

While the risk of disease from a tick bite is quite low, check to see if your doctor would like to see you, particularly if you think the tick was attached for 36 hours or more.

“Sometimes from a person’s description, or better yet, if they can bring in the tick, we can determine that this is just a regular old tick and there is no reason to be concerned about Lyme disease,” says David B.K. Golden, MD, associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore. “But if a doctor is able to determine that this was a deer tick or most likely that it was, he or she is going to want to follow up." Early treatment with a prescription antibiotic from your doctor may be needed.


Probably every bad thing you think about mosquitoes is true. They can get in through screens. Some can travel through hallways to seek you out in your bedroom. They can bite you through your clothes. And yes, they may be more drawn to you than the person sleeping next to you.

West Nile Virus

The mosquito that transmits West Nile is the house mosquito -- the one with that makes that annoying buzz in your ear when you’re trying to sleep. Fortunately, West Nile is not a big threat, says Strickman.

The other most severe viruses in the U.S. -- St. Louis encephalitis, Eastern equine encephalitis, and La Crosse virus -- can be serious or fatal, but they are rare. Dengue fever is another mosquito-borne illness. It's usually rare in the U.S. and more common in the tropics, but there was an outbreak in Key West, Fla., in 2009.