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Preventing and treating tick bites for vacationers

Apr 20, 2012, 8:21 a.m.

Taking a vacation after retirement no longer means sitting on the deck of a ship reading a book or being shuttled from place to place on a tour bus. Today's over-50 travelers want to get out in nature and experience a destination first hand by hiking, biking, canoeing, rock climbing or participating in other outdoors sports. Unfortunately, with nature comes pests like insects and ticks.

Preventing Tick Bites

Ticks are common in grassy and wooded areas throughout the United States. These small parasites can jump on you from branches or blades of grass as you brush past the foliage. Once attached, ticks draw blood and can spread bacteria and a variety of diseases.

To avoid getting bitten by ticks, the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta recommends staying on designated pathways and trails and to walk in the center of the path. They also advise using an insecticide that contains DEET if you'll be traveling outside in wooded and grassy areas in a moist and humid environment. Checking your body for ticks after you've been outdoors is also important.

Treating Tick Bites

If you happen to get bitten by a tick, prompt tick bite treatment is important. Remove the tick as soon as you spot it. The simplest way is to grab the tick firmly with a pair of tweezers, being careful not to leave the head attached to your skin. Keep an eye out for any tick bite symptoms in the following days. These symptoms include headache, fever, a rash or bruise at the bite site, muscle aches and/or joint stiffness. If you experience one or more of these symptoms after a tick bite, see your doctor promptly.

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