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ROCHESTER, Minn. — Summer fun often includes hiking, biking, and just enjoying the great outdoors. But hanging out in parks or walking on trails also invites ticks to hop a ride. Below are four tips from the Mayo Clinic Parasitology Laboratory for arming yourself against these unwanted visitors:
1. Use repellants that contain 20 to 30 percent DEET or 20 percent picaridin: Bobbi Pritt, M.D., clinical microbiologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, says that applying repellant to exposed skin and clothing will provide protection for several hours. “You can also wear clothing treated with permethrin to keep bugs away,” adds Dr. Pritt.
2. Wear long sleeves and tuck pants into socks: Covering your body and sealing off “entry points” from little critters helps prevent bites. Dr. Pritt also suggests wearing light-colored clothing to make it easier to spot ticks.
3. Avoid areas where ticks are prevalent: When hiking, stay in the middle of the trail and avoid areas with high grass or leaf litter.
4. Check yourself carefully for ticks, removing any right away using small forceps: When you get back from a hike or picnic, make sure you check yourself carefully for ticks. “Ticks can transmit important disease-causing organisms to humans and pets,” says Dr. Pritt, “It’s vital to remove any attached ticks right away using forceps.”
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Andy Tofilon, Mayo Medical Laboratories, 507-538-5245, firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic maintains an active diagnostic test-development program. These activities also incorporate technologies from collaborations with diagnostic and biotechnology companies. Mayo utilizes these proven diagnostic technologies in the care of its patients and offers them to more than 5,000 health care institutions around the world through Mayo Medical Laboratories. Revenue from this testing is used to support medical education and research at Mayo Clinic.