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By Diane Spicer
Rocky Mt Spotted Fever isn't just in the Rocky Mountains, so you should glance through this information to see if it's pertinent to the trails you will be on this hiking season.
There are several types of ticks which transmit this disease to humans.
Unlike Lyme disease carrying ticks, which are very tiny, the dog tick and the wood tick are fairly easy to spot.
And you'll make it even easier by wearing light colored clothing, right?
Rocky Mt Spotted Fever and tick bites go hand in hand, but it's not a chicken-or-egg conundrum.
First the infected tick bites you, then the fever with spots sets in.
So a smart hiker games the system on a hiking trail in her favor by preventing a tick from contacting her bare skin:
Here's a quick summary you can use to remind yourself how to stay safe when hiking in spring and early summer months (prime tick season).
What to do if you're bitten by a tick?
Don't panic! Not every tick is infected by Rickettsia rickettsii, the bacterial agent of the disease.
Safe removal is the key to preventing large amounts of tick saliva from flowing into your bloodstream.
If you are bitten, you should monitor yourself for these things for about 2 weeks:
If you hike in areas where ticks are present from early spring through late summer, it's in your best interest to take precautions.
And if you are bitten by a tick, don't freak out.
Tick borne illness is treatable, and the key is early diagnosis.
Write down the date of the bite, and describe the wood tick's appearance if possible.
Taking a photo - even better. This will help determine the type of wood tick.
If you're not feeling well after a bite, there are blood tests to determine if you're infected with the bacteria which cause Lyme disease, or the bacteria we just discussed.
Yeah, me too.
Something about their crawly little legs makes the hair on the back of my neck go up.
That's why I recommend that you incorporate these tick awareness habits into your hiking tricks:
When you find a tick, encase it in tape and throw it in the garbage can. Be sure the tape is completely sealed, because they can wiggle their way out if there is even a small opening.
Don't let ticks keep you off the trail!
Just be prepared to deal with them, and then relax and enjoy the entire hiking season.
For more safety tips on the trail, hop over here.