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I suggest all who spend time out on the trails watch the documentary "Under Our Skin." The medical establishment in the U.S. is either purposely ignorant or dishonest about tick-borne diseases, the most prominent of which is Lyme Disease. This is serious stuff, especially if early diagnosis and treatments are delayed or avoided.

For the best current information on the diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne diseases, and those MDs knowledgeable and capable of carrying out the most up-to-date procedures, go to the ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases) website, www.ilads.org.

The "poppy seed" size for the western black-legged deer tick refers to an immature stage that can, indeed, carry the spirochete. The adult female stage is much larger than that and more easily identified.

I think this tick advice should be expanded to include the following:

DEET is nasty and is applied to exposed skin (but not under clothing) as a repellent. Much better to treat and wear clothing with Permethrin. It is safer to humans and it kills as opposed to repelling ticks, mosquitos, chiggers, etc. You can buy pre-treated clothing at places like REI or send your clothes out to be treated. If you have been in a tick-infested area. throw your clothes into a dryer for 10 minutes to kill any ticks; washing doesn't work. Also deer ticks (Lyme disease) are nearly invisible, the size of a poppy seed; they won't bite right away, so take a shower while your clothes are in the dryer. Wood ticks are biters, but you'll see them.

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