Tips for Avoiding Summer Pests

Tips for Avoiding Summer Pests

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Shelley Osterloh ReportingHospital emergency departments typically see an increase of 20 to 30-percent in the summer as we increase our activities outside. We have some tips on how you can avoid a couple of pesky problems as you enjoy the outdoors.

As you walk you could simply brush up against some vegetation and a tick could find its way on to your skin. Ticks are dangerous because they may carry disease. But the U's Dr. Kurt Bernhisel says, here in Utah, Lime disease is not one of them

Kurt T. Bernhisel, M.D., University Health Care: "There have been very few cases of Lime disease in Utah. Most of them have been reported cases where people have been in states with a tick that transmits that infection."

But, he says, there are other tick-born illnesses, such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, even paralysis.

Kurt T. Bernhisel, M.D., University Health Care: "We had this case, just a couple of weeks ago, where a patient came in and was paralyzed. And it turned out that one of our bright residents found a large tick on the person's back. Removed it, and within several hours the patient was no longer paralyzed."

So doing searches for ticks after you've been out, especially in tall grasses, is important. Snakes can also be a danger. The best way to remove a tick is with tweezers. Never try to burn a tick off or to smother it with petroleum jelly or nail polish, because these methods don't work.

Snakes can also be a danger.

Kurt T. Bernhisel, M.D., University Health Care: "People try to pick them up, they think the snake's dead. Then they get bit. We used to think we needed to put tourniquets on and do slashes into the bites and suck out the poison and things like that. We know now that the main thing is to keep the patient calm."

And seek professional medical attention.

The most common summer time hazard may be dehydration. Dr. Bernhisel cautions, if you're going for a hike, take twice the amount of water you think you'll need.

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