Taking some simple precautions can help keep ticks off your body during your next outdoor adventure!
- Apply insect repellent containing 20-50% DEET (as directed on the label) to your clothing and footwear
- Wear light-colored clothing and consider tucking your pants into your socks
- Walk in the center of trails to avoid overhanging brush and grass
- Examine your clothes and skin frequently for ticks (be sure to check your dogs too)
- Shower soon after you return indoors
If you should find a tick attached to your body, carefully remove it immediately.
- Use tweezers to grasp the tick near its mouth parts (as close to your skin as possible)
- Pull firmly and straight out to remove the tick
- Wash your hands and the site of the bite
- Apply antiseptic to the bite
For more information on ticks in Missouri, please visit the Department of Health and Senior Services website or contact your local health department.
Don't let them spoil your vacation! The recent concern about mosquito-born diseases should not keep you from enjoying the outdoors. Less than 1 percent of mosquitoes carry the West Nile virus and if the mosquito is infected, only 1 percent of the people bitten will become ill.
What precautions should you take?
- Apply insect repellent to skin and clothing.
- Wear light or neutral-colored long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outside.
- Avoid areas of standing water that can be a breeding ground for mosquitos.
- Avoid using perfumes or fragrances outdoors as they are a mosquito attractant.
- Limit outdoor activity between dusk and dawn when mosquitos are most active.
Most people bitten by a mosquito with the West Nile virus experience no symptoms, but some become ill three to 15 days after being bitten. Symptoms range from fever, headache and body aches to confusion, convulsions and in rare cases encephalitis or swelling of the brain. Check with your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.
What You Can Do at Home
- Don't let mosquitoes breed around your home.
- Eliminate standing water from flower pots, barrels, used tires, clogged roof gutters or water-holding containers.
- Install or repair window and door screens to keep out mosquitoes.
- Keep grass cut short so adult mosquitoes will not hide there.