Category Archives: Parish Nurse

Artificial Sweeteners May Actually Cause You to Gain Weight

If you think switching to artificial sweeteners will help with weight loss, you may want to put down that diet soda for a moment.   A new meta-analysis published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that artificial sweeteners may be associated with an increased risk of obesity, long-term weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Artificial sweeteners include stevia, sucralose, and aspartame. <!–split–>

Researchers from the University of Manitoba reviewed 37 studies involving 400,000 people for an average of 10 years. Seven of these studies were randomized controlled trials that followed 1,003 people for an average of six months. Researchers said the seven trials failed to show a consistent link between artificial sweeteners and weight loss. The longer-term studies actually showed a higher risk of health problems. “Most people consuming artificial sweeteners do so assuming these products will help them avoid weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease. Yet we are seeing the opposite association from multiple studies,” Meghan Azad, PhD, told Healthline. Azad is the lead author of the study and an assistant professor at the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba.”  “Based on all of the research done so far, there’s no clear evidence for a long-term benefit (of using artificial sweeteners). But there is evidence of potential harm from the long-term consumption of artificial sweeteners,” she said.  Too much sugar  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people in the United States consume too much added sugar.                                                                                                                                                                      These are sugars that are added to foods and beverages when they’re processed or prepared. Naturally occurring sugars in fruit or milk are not considered added sugars. Both the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend people should keep their sugar intake to less than 10 percent of their total daily calories.  For a 2,000-calorie diet, for example, only 200 calories should come from added sugars.  “The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and USDA MyPlate recommend people choose and prepare foods and beverages with little added sugars or caloric sweeteners,” Lauri Wright, PhD, assistant professor in public health at the University of South Florida, told Healthline. “In excess, sugar can contribute to nutritional deficiencies by supplying calories without providing vitamins and minerals. Excess sugar can also cause tooth decay and contribute to obesity, heart disease, and poor control of diabetes. Additionally, sugar causes inflammation, which worsens arthritis and is bad for blood vessels,” she said. Be aware of the consequences Azad said it’s important that consumers are aware of the risks of both sugar and artificial sweetener consumption. “Sugar is receiving a lot of attention lately as a major cause of these conditions. It’s important to study ‘sugar substitutes’ in parallel, to understand their impact on the same conditions. If we don’t do this, consumers may (understandably) assume that artificial sweeteners are a healthy choice — but this may not be true. Reducing consumption of sugar and artificially sweetened products in general is likely a good strategy,” she said.

Azad added that more research is needed to understand the long-term health impact of artificial sweeteners.  “This is especially important given the widespread and increasing consumption of artificial sweeteners in the general population, and the increasing use of artificial sweeteners in our food supply. Over 40 percent of adult Americans consume NNS (non-nutritive sweeteners) on a daily basis,” she said.  Artificial sweeteners are everywhere  Azad noted that studies have also found that some people are exposed to artificial sweeteners without even realizing it. Blood and urine samples taken from people who reported not consuming artificial sweeteners still found traces of the product. “This should inspire consumers to think about whether they want to be consuming artificial sweeteners, especially on a regular basis. We don’t know if they’re a truly harmless alternative to sugar,” Azad said. So which is the better option for weight loss? Artificial sweeteners or regular sugars?  Wright says it’s not as simple as switching from one product to another. “Weight loss is very complicated. It’s not realistic to think that sugar substitutes alone will result in significant weight loss,” she said. She advises that those who want to lose weight should work with a registered dietician. A dietician can help identify lifestyle changes that need to be made and develop strategies to support those changes. “Switching to sugar substitutes may be one strategy, but alone it will probably not have as great an impact,” she said.

Your Parish Nurse,  Kara

Nurse’s Notes: Take Changes in Stride – 6 Tips for Healthy Transitions

Periods of transition or significant change in your life, whether the death of a loved one, a loss of a job, a divorce, or adjusting to an empty nest, can take a toll on physical, mental and spiritual health.  It’s important to take changes in stride and do your best to keep your health and attitude up even when you feel down.  Here are some tips for coping with change. <!–split–>

ACCEPTANCE   The first step for coping with any change is to fully accept it.  Many times it is already out of your control, so accept that fact, and move forward.

POSITIVITY   Try to visualize the positive aspects of the change.  Transitions happen for a reason, and many times change challenges us in ways that may make us uncomfortable but can strengthen us if we let it.

HONESTY   Take time to honest with yourself and reflect on your emotions but do not let them control you.

GOOD VIBES   Do your best to surround yourself with people who want the best for you and can help feed your positivity and boost your self-esteem.  Being around others with optimistic attitudes can greatly influence your own.

VULNERABILITY   Let yourself be vulnerable and ask for help when you need it.  Realize that you’re not the only one who has faced these obstacles, and seek out those who have had similar experiences and come out on top.

LETTING GO   The most important step of accepting and embracing change is to let go of the past.  Letting go does not mean banishing it or forgetting it ever existed, but make a conscious effort to let the past be the past.  The future is always unfolding, and dwelling on the past does little to help ride that wave.  Keep yourself present in the present!

Lastly, ALLOW YOURSELF TIME   Transitions take time to adjust to and everyone I different and needs a different amount of time.  Don’t worry that you aren’t transitioning properly because it is taking you a different amount of time than it took someone else.  Everyone is different.

— taken from “Church Health”

 Your Parish Nurse,  Kara

Wells4Wellness 2018 Walk For Clean Water

This walk is a community-based and family-oriented, 6-week walking program where we (and you!) live. It involves people throughout the U.S. and the world. It’s not just one day, one place. For more information, please visit the website at www.well4wellness.com. <!–split–>

The walk not only improves your health but also brings the people of Niger, Africa access to fresh clean water. Our goal is to raise $35,000 for 5 wells in 2018. Participants solicit pledges and walk between March 11th and April 22nd. If you would like to donate, place your donations in the offering plate on Sunday and mark it “Wells”.

Bethel Wesley will again be participating as a team. Please join us as we help to make water clean for everyone!  Those participating in the walking team, please be sure to call, email or text your miles in to Kara.  Last year Bethel Wesley’s participation helped build 5 new wells in Niger, Africa.  Think how many people have clean water now and so many children are able to go to school now instead of spending their day walking to haul water!  You are awesome!.  Come join our team!

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

Nurse’s Notes: 15 Germy Things You Touch Every Day

There are things we use every day and give little thought to the germs they may carry.  Keeping these items clean may just help keep you healthy and free from infections.

  1. Cellphone – It goes with you everywhere — even into the bathroom. As a result, it could be up to 10 times dirtier than a toilet seat. In fact, it could have  E.coli on it. That’s a bacteria that can give you diarrhea and stomach cramps. It can live for hours on a warm surface like your phone. The solution: Wash your hands with soap after you go.
  2. Remote Control – Everyone touches it — even the neighbor’s kid who picks his nose nonstop. And when it isn’t in your germy hands, it’s either on the floor or stuck between the sofa cushions — a cozy, dark home for mold and bacteria. Give it a going-over with antibacterial wipes every so often. <!–split–>
  3. Computer Keyboard – You eat lunch over it at work. The kids log on at home and wipe their runny noses while they play their favorite game. The cat hops up for a nap after she leaves the litter box. No surprise it’s covered in germs. To clean things up:  Shut down your computer. Give your keyboard a few good shakes to get rid of loose crumbs.  Use rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball or pad to clean around each key.
  4. Dish Sponge – Surprise! It’s the dirtiest thing in your house. By a long shot. That makes sense: It’s wet, absorbent, and you rub food and dirt with it all the time. Sponges are hard to keep clean. Your best bet?  Replace it when it starts to smell.
  5. Toothbrush Holder – How can this be? Your toothpaste kills germs, doesn’t it? Yes, but a lot of them stick to the bristles and drip onto the holder. This spot has one of the highest bacteria readings of anything you touch. Clean it often. One easy way: Remove the gunk, then stick it in the dishwasher.
  6. Anything in the Office Break Room – The microwave, refrigerator doors & faucet are all covered in bacteria. The vending machine buttons aren’t that clean, either. The damp, dark reservoir in your coffee maker could be full of yeast & mold. Wash your hands before & after you touch the appliances. Rinse the coffee pot between uses; run vinegar through it monthly.
  7. Dog Toys – You’ve probably heard a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s. Doubtful. It isn’t that Fido has fewer germs, he just has different ones. Every time he slobbers on Mr. Squeaky, he doesn’t just transfer bacteria, he creates a sticky wet place for other germs to thrive. There’s no telling what his plaything picks up as he drags it around. Clean rubber toys by hand or in the dishwasher (top shelf only). Toss fabric ones into the wash.
  8. Money – You grab it all the time with your germy hands. So do other people. Researchers found that most dollar bills are covered in 3,000 types of bacteria — everything from the germs that cause acne to microbes from people who lick their fingers when they count out bills. Some countries are printing money on plastic, but the U.S. has yet to take that step. Until we have a cleaner option, wash up after you handle that cash.
  9. Your Office Coffee Cup – You fill it with coffee made from water that sits in a yeast and mold-filled tank. Then you wash it with a dirty sponge that’s full of bacteria. Take it home every day and run it through the dishwasher. At least use dish soap and paper towels if you clean it at work.
  10. The Laundry – Think a quick spin in the washer and dryer will get things clean? Maybe not. One study found that some nasty viruses, including rotavirus, which causes severe stomach troubles, made it through the spin cycle and the dryer. Wash things like underwear on hot, use bleach when you can, and don’t skimp on the drying time.
  11. Your Purse – You stick your hands in it all the time. So do your kids. But you rarely clean it. That accounts for the bacteria that live inside it. The places you leave it, like dirty counters, bathroom stalls, and car floorboards, account for icky travelers on the outside. Hang it on a hook when you can, and clean it with antibacterial wipes. Think about the outside, too — pebbly or uneven surfaces can make better homes for bugs than smooth ones.
  12. The ATM – People from anywhere and everywhere touch buttons on the cash machine. Scientists in New York City found microbes left behind from food like fish and chicken, bacteria from rotting plant and dairy products, and mold linked to spoiled baked goods. There wasn’t a difference between indoor or outdoor machines, but the ones in laundromats and stores were the dirtiest.
  13. Shopping Carts – You fill it with meat and then grab the handle. You sit your little one in it, and she fills her diaper. Birds poop on it while it’s out in the parking lot. That’s why cart handles and seats are often home to  E.coli, campylobacter, and salmonella, all of which cause diarrhea. If your store provides wipes near the cart corral, use them.
  14. Soap Dispensers – Your hands aren’t exactly clean when you give that soap dispenser a nudge, but that isn’t always the reason it’s full of bacteria. The soap inside the gadget can get contaminated if it’s refilled before it’s completely empty. If you wash with it, you’ll transfer the germs to anything you touch afterward.  Wash thoroughly and use paper towels to dry — jet air dryers can spread germs, too.
  15. Kitchen Towel – You don’t just dry your dishes and hands with it. You use it to clean off grimy little hands and faces or wipe up spills on dirty counters. The result: Your dish towel can be home to nasty things like salmonella or fecal bacteria. Good news: The more often you wash your towels, the fewer critters call them home. Soak them for 2 minutes in bleach first.

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

Nurse’s Notes

Saint Valentine

Saint Valentine, officially known as Saint Valentine of Rome, is a 3rd-century Roman saint widely celebrated on 14 February and commonly associated with “courtly love.” Although not much of St. Valentine’s life is reliably know, and whether or not the stories involve 2 different saints by the same name is also not officially decided, it is highly agreed that St. Valentine was martyred and then buried on the Via Flaminia to the north of Rome.

“Lord, grant that I might not so much seek to be loved as to love.”– St. Francis of Assissi  <!–split–>

African American History Month

This February celebrates African American History Month. Learn about how heart disease, cancer, and stroke impact African Americans and how to improve your health.

To commemorate and celebrate the contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week. First celebrated in 1926, the week was expanded into Black History Month in 1976 as part of the nation’s bicentennial. Each year, the U.S. President proclaims February as National African American History Month. Heart disease, cancer, and stroke are the leading causes of death for African Americans. Learn about these conditions and what you can do for health.

“People will forget what you said, People will forget what you did, But people will never forget how you made them feel.”  –Maya Angelou

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

Nurse’s Notes: CDC’s Tips For Self Care – Find Out How To Manage Stress After a Traumatic Event

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the following information to help individuals cope with stress.

Strong emotions like fear, sadness, or other symptoms of depression are normal as long as they are temporary and don’t interfere with daily activities. If these emotions last too long or cause other problems, it’s a different story.  <!–split–>

Sometimes stress can be good. It can help you to develop skills needed to manage potentially threatening situations. Stress can be harmful, however, when it is prolonged or severe enough to make you feel over-whelmed and out-of-control.

Physical or emotional tension are often signs of stress. They can be reactions to a situation that cause you to feel threatened or anxious. Stress can be related to positive events (such as planning your wedding) or negative events (such as dealing with the effects of a natural disaster).

Common reactions to a stressful event include:

  • Disbelief and shock.
  • Tension and irritability.
  • Fear and anxiety about the future.
  • Difficulty making decisions.
  • Feeling numb.
  • Loss of interest in normal activities.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Nightmares and recurring thoughts about the event.
  • Increased use of alcohol and drugs.
  • Sadness and other symptoms of depression.
  • Feeling powerless.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Headaches, back pains, and stomach problems.
  • Trouble concentrating.

The best ways to manage stress in hard times are through self-care:

  • Avoid drugs and alcohol. They may seem to be a temporary fix to feel better, but in the long run, drugs and alcohol can create more problems and add to your stress – instead of taking it away.
  • Find support. Seek help from a partner, family member, friend, counselor, doctor, or clergy person. Having someone with a sympathetic listening ear and sharing about your problems and stress really can lighten the burden.
  • Connect socially. After a stressful event, it’s easy to isolate yourself. Make sure you are spending time with loved ones. Consider planning fun activities with your partner, children, or friends.
  • Take care of yourself.
    • Eat a healthy, well-balanced meal.
    • Exercise regularly.
    • Get plenty of sleep
    • Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out; for example, treat yourself to a therapeutic massage.
    • Maintain a normal routine
  • Stay active. You can take your mind off your problems with activities like helping a neighbor, volunteering in the community.

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

Nurse’s Notes – Your Recipe For Staying On Track No Matter What’s Cooking

‘Tis the season for family, festivity, and food – lots of food. Temptations are everywhere, and parties and travel disrupt daily routines. What’s more, it all goes on for weeks. How do you stick to your diabetes meal plan when everyone around seems to be splurging? Hare are 5 tips that can help. <!–split–>

5 HEALTHY EATING TIPS FOR THE HOLIDAYS

  1. Holiday-proof your plan. You may not be able to control what food you’re served, and you’re bound to see other people eating a lot of tempting treats. Meet the challenges armed with a plan:
  • Eat close to your usual times to keep your blood sugar steady. If your meal is served later than normal, eat a small snack at your usual mealtime and eat a little less when dinner is served.
  • Invited to a party? Offer to bring a healthy dish along.
  • If you have a sweet treat, cut back on other carbs (like potatoes and bread) during the meal.
  • Don’t skip meals to save up for a feat. It will be harder to keep your blood sugar in control, and you’ll be really hungry and more likely to overeat.
  • If you slip up, get right back to healthy eating your next meal.
  • Holiday hacks:
    • Have pumpkin pie instead of pecan pie. Even with a dollop of whipped cream you’ll cut calories and sugar by at least a third.
    • Break physical activity up into smaller chunks so it fits into your schedule, like walking 10 minutes several times a day.
    • Schedule some ‘me” time every day – a nap, dog walk, or hot bath to get your energy back for the next celebration
  1. Outsmart The Buffet. When you face a spread of delicious holiday food, make healthy choices easier:
  • Have a small plate of the foods you like best and then move away from the buffet table.
  • Start with vegetables to take the edge off your appetite.
  • Eat slowly. It takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to realize you’re full.
  • Avoid or limit alcohol. If you do have an alcoholic drink, have it with food. Alcohol can lower blood sugar and interact with diabetes medicines.
  • Also plan to stay on top of your blood sugar. Check it more often during the holidays, and if you take medicine, as your doctor if the amount needs to be adjusted.
  1. Fit In Favorites. No food is on the naughty list. Choose the dishes you really love and can’t get any other time of year, like Aunt Edna’s pumpkin pie. Slow down and savor a small serving, and make sure to count it in your meal plan.

If you plan for it, no food needs to be on the naughty list.

  1. Keep Moving. You’ve got a lot on your plate this time of year, and physical activity can get crowded out. But being active is your secret holiday weapon; it can help make up for eating more than usual and reduce stress during this most stressful time of year. Get moving with friends and family, such as taking a walk after a holiday meal.
  2. Get Your Zzz’s. Going out more and staying out later often means cutting back on sleep. Sleep loss can make it harder to control your blood sugar, and when you’re sleep-deprived, you’ll tend to eat more and prefer high-fat, high-sugar food. Aim for 7-8 hours per night to guard against mindless eating.

Most of all, remember what the season is about celebrating and connecting with the people you care about. When you focus more on the fun, it’s easier to focus less on the food.

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

Antioxidants

What is an antioxidant? Antioxidants are organic substances found in many fruits and vegetables. They include vitamins A, C, and E, a mineral called Selenium and beta-carotene – the thing that gives orange vegetables their color. <!–split–>

In our bodies antioxidants “deactivate” free radicals. Free radicals usually are in the form of an oxygen molecule inside our body, and are produced as a byproduct of many of the body’s natural processes. They may also be created by exposure to certain environmental factors, such as tobacco and radiation. When left unchecked, free radicals can damage cell walls and the DNA in the cells.

Go back to basic chemistry, and you will recall that O2 molecules want to be oxidized, which is to say that they want to carry out a chemical change with oxygen. This process can sometimes create cancer cells. The role of antioxidants is to neutralize these free radicals that may lead to cell damage.

The human body cannot produce its own antioxidants, also known as micronutrients. It’s a simple matter to include antioxidants in our diet, but some people believe that we need to augment our diets with large dietary supplements. While scientific studies have shown that people who eat a good supply of fruits and vegetables have lower rates of cancer, none of these large, reputable studies have shown that dietary supplements give us the same results.

Why Eat Antioxidants? Solid research has shown that a good supply of antioxidants in our diet is good for the health of our eyes. They can actually prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. (Paul Harvey has been telling us that for years.) They support our immune system and are thought to prevent age-related declines of the brain and nervous system. By preventing DNA damage, they reduce the likelihood of cancer, and help prevent heart disease and strokes.

Where Can We Find Them?

  • Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin found in nuts, seeds, vegetables, fish oils, whole grains, fortified cereals, and apricots. The daily values (DVD’s formerly known as Recommended Dietary Allowances or RDA’s) are 15 units per day for men and 12 units for women.
  • Beta-carotene produces Vitamin A, and can be found in liver, egg yolk, milk, butter, spinach, carrots, squash, broccoli, jam, tomato, cantaloupe, peaches, and whole grains. There is no set requirement for these. The caution with these two is that Vitamin A and E are fat soluble, so any excess of these vitamins cannot simply be excreted in the urine. Instead they are stored in the liver and fatty tissues and pose a risk for creating toxic levels in the body.
  • Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin found in citrus fruits and juices, green peppers, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, kale, cantaloupe, kiwi, and strawberries. The DV for this is 60mg per day.

Studies.  According to the Wikipedia web site, high dose supplements may increase the number of free radicals causing the very damage they are taken to prevent. Studies of those who took antioxidant supplements showed no significant increase for overall survival for heart disease or cancer. However, there is a clear, positive connection between a diet consisting of at least 5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables, and better, overall health.

Conclusion.  As with most things in life, the best course is balance and moderation. Your safest and healthiest approach is to eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole rains, and forget the mega supplements unless ordered by a physician for a specific need. God has provided us with the resources we need to lead a healthy, productive life. It’s up to us to use common sense and wholesome nature to support and sustain us.

Check out:  www.wikipedia.org and www.goaskalice.columbia.edu.

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic-depressive illness, is a condition with extreme swings in mood. These vary from deep depression to a high, manic state. This is very different from the normal highs and lows we all feel because these extreme mood swings interfere with daily life. Over 2 million Americans suffer with this condition, which usually begins in the late teens or early 20’s. It can be difficult to diagnose because people typically seek help only when they are deeply depressed. They are often misdiagnosed with depression, and do not get the treatment they need. <!–split–>

There is no single cause of bipolar disorder, but it does tend to run in families. There is certainly a chemical imbalance in the brain and possibly hormone imbalances that are felt to be the prime factors in this condition.

Symptoms vary between manic and depressive episodes. Typical symptoms of mania may include:

  • Very high energy and activity levels.
  • Excessively high euphoric mood.
  • Extreme irritability and anxiety.
  • Inability to concentrate; racing thoughts.
  • Very little sleep; excessive spending.
  • Increased sexual drive; drug abuse.
  • Denial that anything is wrong.

Symptoms of depression may include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
  • No interest in previously enjoyed activities.
  • Too much sleep, or insomnia.
  • Change in appetite, with weight gain or loss.
  • Physical symptoms with no physical cause.
  • Thoughts of suicide.

There can also be a “mixed state” with manic and depressive symptoms happening at the same time. For nearly everyone, there are long periods between episodes whey they feel perfectly normal.

While treatment varies from one person to the next, it generally consists of medications, psychotherapy, and educating one’s self on how to manage the condition. For most people treatment is a lifelong requirement. Medications should be prescribed and monitored by a psychiatrist. They are the experts on the condition, and are up to date on the latest research in this area. Generally, a mood stabilizer is prescribed and possibly an anti-depressant also. A thyroid glad that is producing too much or too little thyroid hormone can change the amount of energy a person has, and needs to be monitored too.

Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is very useful to support patients and their families. Therapists can check a patient’s progress, and teach them about their illness and ways to identify triggers, which can propel a person into another episode. They can help the patient identify early signs of an episode, allowing them to seek help before progressing to a full-scale episode.

With the proper treatment and motivation, people who are bipolar can live a relatively normal life. Regular daily activities that are good advice for all of us can be especially important to maintain a relatively constant mood. Regular sleep and mealtimes, 30 minutes of exercise day, and avoiding illegal drugs are very important for anyone with bipolar disorder. Some stressful events such as holidays, weddings, arguments, funerals, and job problems cannot be avoided. That’s why it is so important to have a relationship with a therapist who can give support when needed. We are fortunate to live in an age where there is abundant help for anyone with this serious condition.

For more information:  www.bipolar.com or www.mayoclinic.com.

Kara Ade, Parish Nurse

Keep Mosquitoes And Ticks From Bugging You This Summer

Taking steps to prevent bites allows more time for children to play outdoors, but when kids are covered with bug  bites after spending time outside, parents may start to worry about disease spread by ticks, such as Lyme disease, or by mosquitoes, such as West Nile Virus. Luckily, parents can take simple steps to prevent bites and diseases spread by bugs. <!–split–>

Use An Effective Insect Repellent

Parents may feel overwhelmed by the many bug protection products in the grocery aisle, wondering which ones are best. CDC recommends a variety of effective products. Check the label for one of the following active ingredients:

  • DEET
  • Picaridin
  • IR 3535
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus

Most pediatricians recommend using products with 30% or less of these ingredients on kids. Once you’ve bought an insect repellent, use it whenever you and your children are outdoors. Put a few bottles or packets of repellent anywhere you might need them – in the car, by the door, in your bag. Make it easy so you’ll remember. As hard as it may be to think about, any single bug bite has the potential to bring illness, so it’s worth taking a moment for prevention.

Make Your Backyard A Tick-Safe Zone

While you may think that ticks only live in the woods, ticks can also lurk in backyards. You can take some simple steps to make your backyard more tick-safe. Keep patios, play areas, and playground equipment away from shrubs, bushes, and other vegetation. Also tick control chemicals are available  for use by homeowners, or can be applied by a professional pest control expert.

Check For Ticks

After playing out outside, don’t make ticks an uninvited guest in your home. Ticks can ride-in on parents, kids, and even the family pet, so check your gear and pets as soon as you get inside, even if your outdoor adventures were only in the backyard.

Parents should check themselves and their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in the hair. If you find a tick, remove it using fine-tipped tweezers as soon as you notice it. If a tick is attached to your skin for less than 24 hours, your chance of getting Lyme disease is extremely small. But to be safe, watch for signs of symptoms, such as rash or fever, and see a doctor if they develop.

Bathing when you get inside can also help you find ticks and remove them. Additionally, you can tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill any remaining ticks.

By following simple prevention steps, parents and kids can keep pests away so they can focus on fun outdoor activities like gardening, camping, hiking, and just playing outdoors.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/westnile or www.cdc.gov/lyme, or call CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO.