Get Ticked Off Earlier This Year

During the first days of April, you can enjoy the season openers for major-league baseball teams across the country. It's when the Indians, Yankees and everyone else's team starts off in first place! And now, because of climate change, early April also ushers in the opening of tick season!

We usually mention tick risks in May, which is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, but new data shows that's a bit late these days. The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York (a tick-dense region), has identified this new tick trend after accumulating data for almost 20 years on climate warming patterns and its effects. So now's the time to start paying attention to tick-bite-prevention strategies.

-Try not to walk through areas with tall grasses and low shrubs. If you do, tuck your pants into your socks.

-When you're out and about, use insect repellant. DEET is effective and won't hurt you or your children unless you ingest it or get it in your eyes. Applying it to skin and clothes can protect you from tick-borne illnesses, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Heartland virus and a whole slew of ills delivered by the black-legged tick.

-Check yourself and your pets when you come indoors. Remove any ticks with a tick-removal toolkit, not with your fingers. (Ask your vet about the best protective tick product for your pet.)

-If you suspect a tick bite, don't wait; see a doctor who knows about treating tick-borne illnesses, pronto.

© 2015 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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