With summer comes another task to add to your busy schedule: picking ticks off your kids, your pets, and yourself. Most bugs are just an annoyance, but some, like ticks, can make you sick. Ticks—in particular, the deer tick—are best known for their ability to carry and transmit the bacterium responsible for Lyme disease. But they can also spread other bacterial and viral diseases, including babesiosis, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, relapsing fever, and Colorado tick fever, reports the June 2009 issue of Harvard Women's Health Watch.
Although most tick bites won't transmit a disease, some can, and there is no vaccine to protect you from most of these diseases. If you spend time outdoors, it's almost impossible to avoid ticks completely. But you can take steps to lower your risk of getting bitten or of becoming ill. Here are some measures you can take to avoid infection:
Protect yourself: Avoid wooded, bushy, or grassy areas whenever possible. When venturing into them, wear light-colored clothing with long sleeves and long pants. Use an insect repellent that contains DEET.
To continue reading this article, you must login
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.