Here are some good practices that the Sierra Club, The National Capital Lyme & Tick-Borne Disease Association, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend for anyone visiting parks in the region.
- When outdoors, wear light colored clothes so that ticks will be more noticeable
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, a hat, and close toes shoes.
- Tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks
- Use insect repellents - especially on exposed skin.
- Avoid brushing up against plants if possible
- After spending time outdoors, ticks may linger on clothing; make sure to send your clothes through the dryer to ensure ticks to crawl on home surfaces and bite anyone unexpectedly.
- Check your entire body for ticks and tick bites as soon as possible. Tick bites sometimes itch like a mosquito bite. They may appear to look like a mole and can be easily missed. Ticks range in size from the size of a period to several millimeters in size.
- Remove ticks with tweezers - grasping as close to the tick's mouthparts as possible. Do not attempt to use other methods as the tick may release its stomach contents and bacteria into your skin.
- Should you find a tick that you suspect has been attached for 24 hours or more call a doctor immediately and you should be prescribed 3-7 days of antibiotics as a preventive measure to avoid infection.
There are several symptoms that people should be concerned about after visiting wooded areas that may expose them to ticks. If you experience any of the following warning symptoms, you should see a doctor as soon as possible and get treatment:
-An unusual rash, called the "Bulls Eye" rash, around the area of a tick bite. This rash does not occur in all cases, so other symptoms are just as important to look out for headaches, mild aches and pains, fever,and mild flu-like symptoms