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The number of cases of potentially fatal tick-related illnesses is constantly on the rise, with up to 35,000 cases of Lyme disease diagnosed in a single calendar year. Ticks are a serious cause for concern, and many people don’t know the best techniques to avoid being bitten, or what they should do if they are bitten. This article addresses these questions, and also gives useful, practical advice on how to ensure that your yard stays tick-free, and safe for children to play in.

Ticks are unpleasant creatures. Anything that feeds on human blood tends to get a bad press, but ticks probably deserve it more than most. Unfortunately, they’re a growing problem in the US, with incidence rates of tick-related illnesses increasing at a worrying rate. Lyme disease is the most frequently diagnosed of these illnesses, and it now afflicts tens of thousands of Americans every single year. There are a plethora of other unpleasant ailments associated with tick bites, many of which give flu-like symptoms and are potentially fatal. Clearly, getting bitten by a tick is something you want to avoid. So how do you stay safe from these blood-sucking parasites?

1. Wear light-colored clothing.

This won’t prevent ticks from falling onto you or latching onto your clothes, but it will make them much easier to spot, allowing you to simply brush them off before they have the chance to reach your skin.

2. Tuck your pants into your socks.

Admittedly, you won’t look particularly cool if you follow this advice, but it’s probably worth might prevent months of discomfort and pain, or even save your life. Long sleeves are also a good idea, as are elasticized cuffs. These measures all help to form an effective tick barrier so that it’s harder for them to reach your skin.

3 Use insect repellent.

Technically, ticks aren’t insects, but insect repellent works on them nevertheless. You should try to find a repellent that contains at least 25% DEET (check the side of the bottle) for the best results. Young children may react badly to this chemical, so it’s best to find a repellent that doesn’t contain DEET when trying to protect the kids.

4. Keep checking for ticks.

Regular checks should ensure that you find these parasites before they do any damage. For obvious reasons, this is much easier if you and a friend can check each other. A final, very thorough check at the end of the day in front a full length mirror is also advisable in case you missed anything beforehand.

5. Keep them in the forests.

If your yard backs directly onto woodland, consider building a small barrier between the edge of the woods and your lawn. A three foot wide border of gravel or wood chips should be sufficient to keep your yard tick-free.

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