Three words you’ve hopefully heard at least a few times this festival season, “tick check, hippies!” is a friendly reminder to put down your drinks, and your props, and your drug-fueled orgies, and dedicate some time to making sure you stay tick-free. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe this summer:

Prevention
– This isn’t Pokemon; stay out of the tall grass. Ticks live in wooded and grassy areas and love humidity and moisture. Avoid bushy areas, cut grass piles and leaf debris.
– Wear a bug repellent with at least 20% DEET to help keep the ticks at bay.
– Permethrin can be bought in a spray bottle and will kill ticks. Use it on your tent, your boots, your camping gear, etc.
– Check the elastic of your pants, shirt, goggles, bra, tutu, etc regularly – these choke points allow unattached ticks to travel with you and find skin.

If You’re Bitten
If you happen to find a tick, don’t panic, and don’t touch the tick. If you’re too rough with the removal process you can separate the head under your skin and increase the risk of infection. If you locate an attached tick remove it with tweezers. Grasp as close to the skin as you can, and pull it straight out.

Symptoms
Lyme disease isn’t pretty. In the short term it can cause flu-like symptoms, fatigue, and aches. If left untreated it can cause arrhythmia, memory loss, constant fatigue, joint ache, and a litany of other unsavory maladies. Early treatment is key with Lyme disease. Immediately see a doctor for blood tests if you:
– Experience unwarranted fatigue or dizziness
– Develop flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, or muscle aches
– Develop a red rash around the area of a bite that grows outwards – This rash will often look like a bulls eye and appears on 80% of those infected with Lyme disease within a week to a month of the infection

Treatment
Lyme disease can be treated effectively with antibiotics if it is caught early enough.

Make sure you check yourself regularly, and remind those around you to, as well. Have fun, explore, and don’t forget the permethrin!