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Avoiding Lyme Disease during hiking
TIME: 04:08PM Thursday September 20,2012
FROM:Seaside Signal   

GEARHART - Q: Our family spends the summer hiking all over the northwest. Our neighbor’s daughter got Lyme Disease. How can we prevent that illness?


A: Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, which is spread through the bite of infected black legged ticks (or deer tick, Ixodes scapularis). The ticks can attach to any part of the human body, including the groin, armpits, and scalp. The tick must be attached for 36-48 hours or more before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted.

The deer tick is found in grassy areas, open fields, and especially the margin where fields meet wooded areas. The risk of being bitten by a deer tick infected with Lyme disease is greatest in the summer months of June and July.

To avoid ticks avoid walking through tall grass and shrubby areas. Wear slacks tucked into socks and wear light colored clothing to make it easier to detect ticks. Stay close to the center of hiking trails to avoid brushing against foliage. Frequently check for ticks all over your body body including in the groin, scalp and armpits. Apply repellant such as DEET to shoes and all clothing.

Following these steps should help prevent Lyme Disease.

Q: My sister came to visit me, and she was horrified I was using reusable bags to do my grocery shopping. She says they are dirty. Is she right?


A: Reusable bags are widely used all over Oregon. They are very handy to do your grocery shopping, and take to the farmers markets. However they must be washed regularly in the washing machine or by hand.

Researchers at the University of Arizona, and Loma Linda University found huge amounts of bacteria (including E. coli) in about 12% of the reusable bags tested.

Recently there was an outbreak of norovirus (which causes a stomach flu) among 17 members of a girls’ soccer team and their four adult chaperones while attending a tournament in Washington state. The common link was a reusable grocery bag of snacks that had been stored in the bathroom.

In summary you must wash your reusable bags on a regular basis.

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