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Tick prevention tips

The smaller tick that is dark in color is an adult male blacklegged tick, which is smaller and dark in color. An adult female blacklegged tick is red and dark brown.

Preventing exposure to blacklegged ticks (also known as "deer ticks" or "bear ticks") requires diligence.

Campers, hikers, hunters, farmers and people in outdoor occupations are at risk in counties known to have blacklegged ticks, like Hubbard County and neighboring counties.

Some people have been exposed to blacklegged ticks in their yard, especially when the yard has a lot of brush and leaf litter and is adjacent to the woods.

To minimize your risk, the Minnesota Department of Health recommends the following:

• Avoid blacklegged tick habitats during the peak time of year (generally mid-May through mid-July). Blacklegged ticks are found in wooded, brushy areas. Unless you spend time in that kind of setting, simply being in a high-risk county won't place you at risk. You should know whether the areas where you live, work or play have blacklegged ticks.

• Walk in the center of the trail to avoid picking up ticks from grass and brush.

• Wear clothes that will help shield you from ticks. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Tuck your pants into the top of your socks or boots to create a "tick barrier." Wear light colored clothes to make it easier to spot ticks.

• Use a good tick repellent. Products containing permethrin, which are used on clothing, are especially recommended for people who will be spending an extended period of time in possible tick habitat. Permethrin products are marketed under names like Permanone® and Duranon® and are available in stores that sell outdoor gear. Do not use permethrin on your skin.

Standard DEET-based products are another option. Use a product containing no more than 30 percent DEET for adults. Concentrations up to 30 percent DEET are also safe for children (according to reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics). Do not use DEET for infants under two months of age.

Products containing DEET will also protect you from mosquito bites and mosquito-transmitted diseases.

Follow the manufacturer's directions for all repellent applications.

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