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ASK THE DNR: How can I prevent tick bites?

Q. I'm going camping over Memorial Day weekend, and I want to avoid exposure to Lyme disease. How can I prevent tick bites?

A. Lyme disease-carrying deer ticks are most active from mid-May through mid-July, so it's important to take precautions when enjoying the outdoors. High-risk areas include hardwood forests, woody or brushy areas and long grass. Here are some tips to prevent tick bites:

• Walk in the center of trails to avoid picking up ticks from grass and brush.

• Wear light-colored clothing so ticks will be more visible. Check and re-check yourself throughout the day.

• Create a barrier to ticks by tucking your pant legs into socks or boots and wearing a long-sleeved shirt tucked into your pants.

• Use a repellent containing DEET or permethrin and carefully follow the directions on the container. Permethrin-treated clothing also is available at many sporting goods stores.

• After being outdoors in tick habitat, get out of your clothes immediately, do a complete body check, shower and vigorously towel dry. Wash your clothes immediately so you don't spread any ticks around your living area.

• Check pets for ticks, too.

If you find an attached tick, gently remove it with a tweezers. Wash the area and apply antiseptic to the bite. See a doctor right away if you experience a rash, fever, headache, fatigue or other signs of illness. To learn more, visit the DNR website at mndnr.gov/insects/deerticks.

-- Melissa Warhol

Warhol is a safety and risk supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken is a reporter and editor of the Herald's Sunday Northland Outdoors pages. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998.  A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 

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