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Women's Health

Surviving Summer

Follow these safety and first-aid tips and avoid calling 911 later.
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Where the Wild Things Are continued...

If this happens, "run like hell" to minimize number of bites, he advises.

Make sure to get the stinger out quickly. Use a credit card or a blunt-edge object to try to scrape out the stinger. "If something like a credit card is not available, use your fingers because it's better then leaving it in and allowing more venom to be pumped in to your bloodstream," he says.

Also, put ice on the sting to reduce the swelling that may occur later, he says. "This will also minimize any discomfort."

Also keep the area clean as possible. A topical anesthetic is also helpful to stave off itch and pain that can accompany a bite or sting.

Lyme Disease Lesson

To prevent tick bites, "wear appropriate clothing when you go out -- including light-colored clothing on legs, so you can spot any ticks quickly," Pennisi says. Insect repellant is also helpful. Apply a repellent containing DEET to clothes and exposed skin, and apply permethrin (which kills ticks on contact) to clothes.

"If you do find a tick on your skin, remember that it's more of a concern when they burrow into the skin and go deep enough to reach blood vessels and draw blood," he says.

"When getting the tick out, it's important to get as much out as possible," he says, "Bring tweezers with you if you are going to be in a tick-infested area to ensure that you get as much as possible," he says.

Lyme disease is caused by the bite of a tick infected with the bacteria that cause the disease. A few days to weeks after the tick bite, a "bull's-eye" rash may appear with fever, headache, and muscle or joint pain, or a flu-like illness. It is most common during the late spring and summer months in the U.S. and occurs mostly in the northeastern and upper Midwest states.

You may want to keep the tick to show it to your doctor, since certain ticks are more likely to carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, Pennisi says.

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