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ADPH: Beware of ticks and mosquitoes as you venture to Alabama's great outdoors this summer

Don't let your guard down when it comes to annual summer pests. Use repellents and wear long sleeves and pants to avoid ticks, mosquitoes and their diseases.
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Now that Covid-19 restrictions are easing, more people are rediscovering the great outdoors in Alabama. If you're one of the many, keep in mind that ticks and mosquitoes are back for Summer.

Both are annoying but, even more so, their bites can also transmit illnesses. That's why the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) wants you to be extra careful.

“Ticks and mosquitoes can transmit viruses and bacteria when they bite, causing illnesses that range from mild to severe or even fatal," said Public Health Entomologist Savannah Duke. "While we continue to practice social distancing and handwashing this summer, we must not forget to take the steps necessary to prevent diseases carried by insects."

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Mosquitoes can carry West Nile virus, Eastern equine encephalitis and Zika virus. From ticks, it's Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever that pose a threat. 

According to State Public Health Veterinarian, Dr. Dee Jones, “The best way to avoid getting a disease from a tick or mosquito is to reduce the risk of being bitten.”

Here's what the ADPH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend to prevent tick and mosquito bites:

*  Use insect repellents with DEET, Picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus.

*  Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants and use permethrin to treat clothes and gear
*   Always follow instructions when applying insect repellent to children and do not use repellents on babies younger than 2 months or oil of lemon eucalyptus on children under 3 years old.

* Look through your yard and flip anything that holds water so mosquitoes don't have a habitat to breed

*  Walk in the center of trails and check yourself for ticks when you go back indoors.

If you find a tick on you, remove it right away. Click here for the best way to do that.

If you think you picked up a mosquito or tickborne disease, see your doctor. Bitten by a tick? Save it so your doctor can identify the type of tick and test it.
See your health provider if you think you have a mosquito or tickborne disease. If you are bitten by a tick, save it for identification and testing. 

And in case you're interested, the ADPH has a wealth of information on mosquito and tickborne illnesses and how to keep yourself from getting them.