May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month which hopes to make everyone aware of the symptoms, prevention and treatment of Lyme disease.

Ticks are everywhere. You can be exposed to them as easily as a walk outside your home or petting the family dog. They can be found in lawns, shrubs, gardens and edges of woodlands.

How can you reduce the chances of a tick bite?

*Educate yourself about tick-borne diseases.

*Avoid tick-infested areas, such as leaf litter under trees. Avoid brushing against long grasses and brush on edges of paths. Don't sit on stumps or fallen logs.

*Wear light-colored long pants and long sleeves so you can easily see any ticks.

*Tuck shirt into pants and tuck pants into socks.

*Use DEET on skin and treat clothing with spray containing permethrin.

*Do a thorough tick check upon returning inside and for several days following exposure.

*Check bedding for serveral days following exposure for ticks that drop off.

*Ticks, especially nymphal ticks, are tiny. Find and remove them before they bite.

What to do if bitten:

*Use fine-point tweezers or a special tick-rmoving tool. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. If you don't have tweezers, protect your fingers with a tissue.

*Pull the tick straight out with steady, even pressure.

*Avoid squeezing the tick, breaking it, or allowing any blood to remain on your skin.

*Place the tick in a small plastic bag or vial with blades of grass, leaf, or moist (not wet) piece of tissue.

*Label the bag with your name, date, site of bite and how long tick was attached.

*Have the tick identified and tested by a lab, health department or veterinarian.

*Wash your hands, disinfect the tweezers and bite site.

*Consult a doctor to see if treatment is warranted.