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May 27, 2011

Ticking right along with ticks

If this is May, it must be Lyme Disease Prevention Month.

Hallmark hasn't designed a card yet, but can it be far off? Be careful out there this holiday weekend.

As a one-time host, let me tell you the disease is just like the house guest that just won't leave.

And it's not just humans. The number of dogs exposed to tick diseases is on the rise. Between 2006 and last year, there was a 30 percent increase in the rate of dogs exposed to tick-borne diseases, a national study shows.

From now through November, two-legged critters should:

Stay informed.

Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts in the woods and tall grasses.

If it's too hot for that, spray skin and clothes with bug juice containing 30 percent DEET.

Afterward, check for ticks. They're little, so look closely. Remove the little buggers with tweezers and wash the area with soap and water.

If you get the "bull's eye" rash or begin to feel crummy, don't delay, see a doctor.

And eat your vegetables. It won't prevent Lyme disease, but if you buy them at a local produce stand, you'll be helping Maryland farmers.

If you have a pet who loves the outdoors, learn the signs and how to find and remove ticks.

Posted by Candus Thomson at 4:00 PM |
About Candus Thomson
In a world of paper vs. plastic and candy mint vs. breath mint, my early memories involved a debate about the merits of freshwater vs. saltwater.

On the one hand, a great uncle’s fishing cabin on the Susquehanna River beckoned, but so did family gatherings on the Jersey Shore.

The correct answer, thankfully, was, “both.”

As The Sun’s outdoors writer for more than a decade, I’ve fished across Maryland in one day, hiked the width of the state in one hour, camped overnight in the median of I-95 to experience the wildlife between the fast lanes and chased mountain bikers in a 24-hour marathon race.

Those are some of the highlights. I’ve also fallen in a raging Gunpowder River during a trout survey (photo available upon request), had a shark spill its guts on my clothes and been stuck in a sub-freezing Vermont wilderness with men armed with flintlocks and hatchets, shuffling along on ancient wooden snowshoes.

And, in my travels I’ve met lots of you, who share a love of the outdoors and the good times and mishaps that go along with it.

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