Ticks, spiders and snakes oh no!

As you spend time outside in this wonderful warm weather and are benefiting from the fresh air, and great exercise you get while playing games, walking,  running,  jumping on the trampoline and more, don’t let the bugs sideline you!

Here are a few tips:

Make sure you always look for ticks on you if you are out in any grasses.  If you find one, grasp the tick firmly with your fingers or tweezers and pull it straight out and then take a picture with your cell phone just in case your doctor needs to know what kind of tick it was.  Normally it takes several days for ticks to feed to transmit disease, so as long as you spot them early on, you should be fine according to Kathleen Clem, M.D., chair of emergency medicine at Loma Linda University Medical Center in California.  If you develop a bull’s-eye rash or headache and fever, which can possibly mean Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever, time to head to the doctor to get it checked out.

If you think you have a spider bite, wash the area with soap and water, then put an over-the-counter antibiotic cream on it, which will heal most bites within a week.  Bites from black widow or brown recluse spiders are the exception, which will require medical care.  The black widow has a red hourglass mark on its belly and the brown recluse has a violin shaped design near its head.

What about snakes?  With snakes, try to remember what they looked like.  Most snakes are harmless, but if you don’t know for sure what kind you encountered, go the the ER.  It’s possibly you might need anti-venom.  Don’t apply a tourniquet or ice, but cut the wound, or suck out the venom, says Eric Lavonas, M.D. associate director of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center in Denver.  “Just clean the wound and then seek medical care.”

Hope these tips are helpful.  Enjoy the outside as you get plenty of exercise to keep you in great shape!