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Still a little ticked off

Anyone traveling, playing or spending time in the outdoors is susceptible to the tick borne disease. All of my brother's children, who live in the Hudson River Valley community of Red Hook, have had it. The family keeps a ready supply of tick tweezers and medication on hand at all times.

"Whenever the kids play outdoors," my brother explained, "they tuck their pant legs into their socks. Even so, we still have to check them over for ticks as soon as they're back inside. The ticks are real difficult to see. They are about the size of a single piece of pepper."

Lyme disease is caused by the bite of infected deer ticks, which are most active during the spring and early summer, and again in the fall.

The best method to combat the affliction is to avoid getting a bite in the first place. This can be accomplished by limiting tick's access to the skin by tucking pants into socks, and shirts into pants. When traveling in brushy and grassy areas, wear light-colored clothing, spray repellant around pant and shirt cuffs and always check for ticks after outings.

If a tick is found, use tweezers to remove it and check for telltale signs of infection such as rashes. Three out of four victims report a bull's eye-shaped red rash after being bitten. It can last for several days or weeks.

Victims report aches and pain, numbness, fatigue and a stiff neck. Early detection is key! Treatment requires three weeks of a daily dose of antibiotics such as Doxycycline, Amoxicillin or Cefuroxime. Worse-case scenarios require 21-30 days of IV Therapy and hospitalization.

Avoidance and protection isn't always possible, but recognizing the warning signs can help victims to ward off further, more severe complications. Keep a watchful eye to remain ticked off.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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