Tick season 2013: Tips on treating and avoiding tick bites

KANSAS CITY, MO - Warmer weather could mean more people outside, and that may expose you to ticks and diseases.

Doctors at the University Of Kansas Hospital say it's early in the tick season and they haven't noted a strong increase in calls or visits over last year, but they say if you do plan to spend time outdoors, you must plan to protect yourself from tick bites.

Dr. Jared Marx sees patients with tick bites at the University of Kansas Hospital.

"I think the biggest reason why people come in is because they don't know what to do," Marx said. "They hear the dramatic stories of people getting a tick bite and they get scared and nervous about that so they come in to make sure they're okay."

Marx says most ticks do not carry disease and most tick bites don't cause serious health problems. Some, however, can carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and/or Lyme Disease.

Doctors say if you find a tick, it's important that you remove it with a pair of fine tweezers.

"Reach down and grab the tick by the head and remove it completely and wash the area with soap and water," Marx instructed. "You should watch that area for a certain amount of time, at least for a couple of weeks. Make sure that it's not developing any redness, you're not developing any fevers, any systemic symptoms."

Ticks are like profession hitchhikers. They wait for an opportunity to hop on people when they walk by. Doctors suggest walking in the center of a trail and avoid wooded or brushy areas with high grass. Bathe or shower within two hours of outdoor activity.

Marx suggests a good bug spray that includes a tick repellant. But not even that is full proof.

"Make sure you're checking yourself over and you're checking your kids over and removing any ticks and promptly as possible, " he urged.

Do not grab the tick with your hands as they can cause infected fluid to enter your body.

Tick information from the Missouri Department of Conservation: http://on.mo.gov/15QzlY1
Tick information from Centers for Disease Control: http://1.usa.gov/lxb6VR

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