Follow these safety and first-aid tips and avoid calling 911 later.
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
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,
Sun Burns and Skin Cancer
"The acute effects of sun toxicity are redness, burning,
and blisters," says Lily Lai, MD, a staff surgeon at City of Hope National
Medical Center in Duarte, Calif. Deeper burns blister and turn white or blanch
With acute sun exposure, if there are not blisters or peeling
and a person is just kind of red, a good lubricating lotion will make them feel
better and less irritated, but blisters may require medical attention, Lai
If you have had a lot of cumulative sun damage, the warning
signs are wrinkles, a leathery thickness of skin, and pigmented lesions.
"If you start developing irregular moles that look funny or get bigger and
become more speckled and spotted, these are warnings signs of melanoma," a
potentially fatal form of skin cancer, Lai says.
Other types of skin cancers may distinguish themselves by
scaliness, or they may get irritated and not heal, she explains.
If you are fair skinned with a lot of sun exposure and if you
have a family history of melanoma, it's a good idea to see a dermatologist and
have your moles evaluated and to do regular skin self-exams, Lai suggests.
When doing skin self-exams, experts
recommend the "ABCD" rule for moles.
A is for asymmetry. In suspicious moles, one half of the mole
may not match the other half.
B is for border. Suspicious moles may have an irregular
C is for color. Suspicious moles may have more than one color,
such as black, tan, or brown and sometimes red, white, or blue.
D is for diameter. A mole should be no larger than six
millimeters, which is roughly the size of a pencil eraser.