Avoid Colorado Tick Fever

Enjoyment of the outdoors is one of the many pleasures that come with living in Colorado. As any Coloradan will proudly boast, the summer months bring countless ways to appreciate the various wonders of nature. Such activities include hiking, biking, camping, fishing and boating. Unfortunately, all of this summer fun also comes with some hazards. One in particular is the presence of ticks. Due to Colorado’s high elevation, ticks are quite common.

Although Lyme disease – transmitted from ticks – is not a problem in the state, Colorado tick fever is a tick-borne illness that is very prevalent. The disease comes from the Rocky Mountain Wood tick and is most common between April and July. It is important to know what measures to take to safeguard your family from this viral infection. Knowing where to find Rocky Mountain Wood ticks, how to avoid being bitten by them and having the ability to spot the symptoms early can make a world of difference. Here are a few tips to remember when spending time outdoors this summer.

Know where to look. Ticks are parasites that feed on the blood of animals. They can be found in areas where they are most likely to come across possible hosts. These are usually grassy, well-traveled spots near fields and wooded areas.

Get covered. When spending time camping, hiking and biking in wooded places, be sure to wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts. It is also recommended to wear shoes that completely cover your feet while minimizing any exposed skin around the ankles. In addition, wearing clothing that predominately features lighter colors will make ticks easier to locate and remove.

Use repellent. DEET and Permethrin are two popular tick repellents. Spraying either one of these on clothing has been known to be effective. Keep in mind that repellents should not be sprayed near the eyes and mouth. In particular, Permethrin should not be applied to the skin.

Remove ticks effectively. If a tick is found in the skin, be sure to use dull tweezers to gently remove it. It is important not to crush the tick while pulling it out. Crushing the tick could result in infection if parts of it are left in the skin.

Know the symptoms. Be able to spot the signs of Colorado tick fever. Symptoms that accompany a tick bite include sudden chills and high fever, aching muscles, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and a faint rash. If these symptoms do not subside within a week, contact your physician.

With some preparation and diligence, the risk of contracting Colorado tick fever can be greatly lowered. By continuing to be aware of your surroundings, you can ensure your family’s enjoyment of the great Colorado outdoors without enduring such setbacks as Colorado tick fever.

Stay Active All Summer Long…Despite the Heat!

Colorado is a great place for outdoor exercise in the summer. From marathons to more casual activities, the local terrain and climate provide ideal excursions. However, whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting outdoor hobbies like running or hiking, the summer heat can make getting your miles in challenging. Here are some tips to help deal with the summer conditions so you can continue going at your full potential all summer long:

Wear the right clothes. Equip yourself with accessories and clothes that do the most to protect you from the sun and heat. Clothing that is light in color and loose is always your best bet. The light colors reflect the rays of the sun at the same time that the looseness helps you catch any breeze that comes your way. To guard your eyes and skin from the sun, wear a hat and sunglasses. Of course, sunscreen is always a must!

Know when and where to workout. Generally, the hottest part of the day is 12pm to 3pm. To avoid the most oppressive heat, try to be out in the morning or evening. Where possible, seek out shady areas. If the heat reaches dangerous levels, call off the day’s run, hike, game or workout.

Stay Hydrated. Maintain a regular intake of liquids throughout your activity. A combination of water and sports drink will give you optimal fuel and electrolyte levels. The recommended amount of fluid is no less than 8oz. every hour. For longer periods of time or to keep your hands free, use a CamelBak or hydration belt to carry the fluids you need. 

Don’t push too hard. As the summer gets into its hottest stretch, remember that your body needs about two weeks to adjust. Take it easy during this time. Let your body acclimate gradually. Pushing too hard will do more harm than good. When running, think about switching to power walking every 4 to 8 minutes. This will help to keep you from overheating as your body adapts.

As always make sure that you talk with your doctor before you begin in any intense physical regime. We all want get in shape, but there are plenty of alternatives if our body isn’t ready for the physical stress of running.

Even though it’s the end of July, we still have many weeks of heat left. Don’t let it do you in! Follow these tips and prove that you are up to the challenge!