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    Ticks shouldn’t keep you from enjoying nature!

    Don’t let these nasty insects keep you from enjoying the great outdoors this spring and summer. Stay informed, prepared and proactive.

    Ticks acquire Lyme and other tick-borne diseases (TBDs) from infected animals and pass them along to humans and other animals.

    So what do you need to know about ticks? Ticks exist in every county in Pennsylvania.

    They are tiny arachnids (eight-legged) that cannot jump or fly, typically found in wooded and grassy areas.

    Pennsylvania has led the nation in confirmed Lyme disease cases each year since 2011.

    When detected early, Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics. Left untreated, the disease can spread to the joints, heart and nervous system.

    Early diagnosis is important in preventing late-stage complications.

    Deer ticks are active any winter day that the ground is not snow-covered or frozen!

    In order to prevent ticks, avoid direct contact. Once a tick attaches onto human/pet skin, it generally climbs upward until it reaches a protected or creased area.

    Wear light clothing, long pants and shirt, socks and suitable footwear when you’re outdoors. Apply insect repellants. Check for ticks on yourself, kids and pets. Shower immediately.

    You should seek medical attention in the following situations:

    *If unable to remove an attached tick;

    *When flu-like symptoms or rash develops between 3-30 days after infection (a bulls-eye rash may appear anywhere on the body);

    *If you are pregnant or nursing and have been exposed to ticks;

    *If you feel very tired or have joint pain (especially with redness and swelling), irregular heartbeats, severe headache or neck pain after possible exposure to ticks.

    Remove a tick immediately if you find it on your body.

    The following process will ensure proper removal:

    1. With tweezers or tick tool, grasp tick as clos to skin as possible.

    2. Gently pull the tick upward with even pressure. Do not twist.

    3. Clean hands and bit area with soap and water and antiseptic.

    4. Dispose of tick in toilet or wrap in tape and discard.

    To learn more about ticks and prevention, visit GetOutdoorsPA.org.