weight_loss_600-300x300Do you want to lose those last, difficult five to fifteen pounds before summer bikini season? I totally believe in our new and safe medically supervised weight loss program, which has been helping so many of our patients. I am living proof of its effectiveness!

Those of you who know me know that I don’t promote or sell things that I don’t believe in. I feel so strongly about this weight loss program that I need to share my personal experience – I absolutely love it!  I work out, I eat healthy foods, I do everything right. But I just could not drop those last 10 pounds! I am small-framed so 10 extra pounds on me is a lot. It makes a lot difference in my life, including my management of my back problem. At the recommeondation of Tiffani Kim Institute’s medical director, Dr. Steven Abdelmalak, I tried our physician-monitored weight loss program combined with a healthy lifestyle. I’ve lost 10 pounds! And I’ve kept it off for the last five months, with the help of constant monistoring from Dr. Steve. I am so excited and feel a need to share this with everyone!

Some patients and friends have even lost 20 pounds within one or two months. Dr. Steve completes a thorough, thoughtful screening including an EKG and a blood test. Once he determines that patients are a good fit for the program, he’s available for communication at all times through our portal. I love the Lipo Vitamin shots, and the fact that they’re monitored by Dr. Steve – one of the kindest and most caring doctors I know. I know there is a lot out there for weight loss, but I truly believe this program works, and I am so thrilled to be sharing this with everyone. Please check this out and see if it’s for you. Click here to learn more.

Our plans begin with a general health exam and consultation with Dr. Steve, including a detailed medical history, physical exam, and measurements for body fat and body mass, as well as blood tests and an EKG. Programs often begin with a Vitamin B Fat Burning injection and a one-month supply of Phentermine.

  • Vitamin B LipoDenX Fat-Burner Injections work synergistically with a healthy diet and exercise to help bring about amazing results. Vitamins B12, B6, B5 boost energy and metabolism. Inositol helps break down fats and supports regulation of mood and appetite. Choline helps removes bodily wastes and contributes to fat and cholesterol metabolizing processes. L-Carnitine supports energy production, muscle movement, and heart and brain function. And Adenosine Monophosphate (AMP) can speed up the metabolism. We usually recommend one injection each week for the duration of the program.
  • Phentermine, a very safe medication with a solid clinical record, decreases hunger and extends feelings of fullness while improving your mood. It’s a very effective way to get weight loss going into full swing.

If you and Dr. Steve agree that you are a candidate, daily HCG injections – administrated at home, by you – may be an option. HCG is FDA-approved to treat health conditions other than weight loss, but when used under the supervision of a licensed physician, it is considered a safe weight loss aid that can help certain patients. Those who find HCG helpful are often dealing with weight issues that may be due to hormone imbalances. There’s no guarantee that HCG will work, because it seems to address a few specific, particular issues. But it’s worth considering, and for the right patient, these injections might make a big difference.

We offer nutritional counselling as well, either as part of a larger plan or on its own. Weight loss simply will not happen without a solid nutritional foundation. Most weight problems stem from confusion or misinformation about which foods should be eaten and which foods should be avoided, as well as the timing of meals for proper metabolization and individual physiologies. Our counseling package includes a one-hour initial meeting, followed by a 15-minute follow-up two weeks later.

And finally, Traditional Chinese Medice offers possibilities that our medical team can help you evaluate. Studies have linked certain types of acupuncture with successful weight loss – a 2013 study found that inserting five needles at key points in the ear helped patients suffering from excess belly fat. When combined with a proper diet and exercise plan, acupuncture can be an excellent support for healthy habits.

Losing fat is hard. Regardless of your levels of self-discipline, commitment to wellness, and knowledge of physical processes, it has been clinically proven that fat gained can be monumentally difficult to shake. For the right patient, working with a physician is a safe, smart way to reach your goals.


Build Better Sleep Habits One Night at a Time

by Tiffani on February 5, 2015

Peaceful sleep.Want to improve your health and happiness? Kick up your heels and get some sleep. If you’re serious about health and wellness, then sleep needs to be among your highest priorities.

Links are well established between inadequate sleep and health problems like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Sleep clarifies your thinking and picks up your mood. Cutting your rest hours short will cause you to gain weight, make worse decisions, and increase your risk of many diseases.

Like all habits, improving your sleep routine can take time. Take one step at a time, and don’t give up. It’s worth it – adequate sleep is essential for a happy, healthy life.

  • Start with your schedule. Sleep needs vary with age and lifestyle, but start by planning for seven to eight hours each night – maybe more, if you’ve neglected sleep in the past and have built up a sleep debt.
  • Make time for exercise as well. Thirty minutes of activity each day is beneficial for all aspects of your health, including your sleep. The more vigorous the activity, the more it will pay off when it’s time to rest. Avoid exercising within a few hours of bedtime.
  • Assess what’s keeping you awake. If worries or stress are the cause, this must be managed. A journal – and possibly a counselor or therapist as well – can help resolve these issues. Yoga, meditation, and ginseng tea are other great stress management options. If stress is keeping you awake, be aware that you may be in the midst of a cycle that could be tough to shake – lack of sleep makes stress tougher to manage, which in turn can make sleep even more elusive.
  • Adjust your diet. Unless hunger is keeping you awake, skip heavy meals and snacks within a few hours of bedtime. There’s been some research linking diets high in protein during the day, with an evening meal that includes healthy carbohydrates, with excellent sleep. Also try magnesium, Vitamin D, and B Vitamin supplements. The classic glass of chamomile tea before bed isn’t just a tradition – its sleep-inducing effectiveness is backed up by research. Skip caffeine after mid-day.
  • Turn your bedroom into a restful haven. Keep the temperature cool – your body cools down as it falls asleep, and soft blankets can be comforting. A temperature in the 60s is ideal for rest. Dim the lights before bedtime. Don’t watch television right before bed, and consider removing as many electronics as possible from the bedroom. Hide the clock if sleeplessness is causing you stress. Don’t try too hard to drop off in bed – read in another room until you feel ready for sleep.
  • Make the most of your morning. Get up at the same time each day, weekends included. Don’t linger in bed. Get active and out in the sun soon after you wake.
  • Nap carefully. A midday nap – 20 minutes after lunch, for example – can be very beneficial, if you stick with it daily and remain consistent. Naps that your body isn’t expecting, or naps that are too long or too late in the day, can hinder nighttime sleep.

If self-help efforts aren’t paying off, or if you’d just like to get to the root of sleep troubles immediately, contact a professional. For alternative, natural help, traditional Chinese medicine practitioners can assess the nature and causes of insomnia and recommend herbs or acupuncture. We highly recommend acupuncture treatments and melatonin supplements.

Consider talking with your doctor as well. Check that any allergies you may have are being treated, and be sure none of your medications – prescription or non-prescription – are contributing to insomnia. If you need more advanced treatments, we recommend a sleep study.


Healthy Holidays: Live Well and Avoid Diabetes

by Tiffani on December 15, 2014

cookies-448358_diabetes artSweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie – with the end of this month marking the start of the holiday season, is it any wonder that November is national Diabetes Prevention Month?

Type 2 diabetes – also known as adult-onset diabetes – is a serious and sometimes devastating condition, but it’s also preventable. A recent study published in the  Archives of Internal Medicine journal estimates that as many as nine out of 10 new cases of type 2 diabetes could be avoided through moderate lifestyle improvements, like healthy eating, regular exercise, weight management, and not smoking.

Whether your goal this winter is to prevent diabetes or to simply avoid holiday sugar spikes and New Year’s weight loss resolutions, November is a perfect time to prepare for the feasts with some knowledge of good and bad sugars.

Sugar is everywhere, and not all of it is bad. Glucose is your body’s primary source of energy, and you get it mainly from carbohydrates – sugar, starch, and fiber, all of which are made of sugar. Natural sugars occurring naturally in whole foods are good. Everything else should, unfortunately, be limited.

Sugars in whole foods tend to be complex, and time-consuming to digest. Complex sugars digest more slowly, providing a more gradual and moderate source of energy. Simple sugars, on the other hand, digest quickly, hitting the bloodstream fast and giving you a quick spike of energy followed by an eventual crash – and then cravings for more sugar to get energy back up.

Simple sugars don’t cause type 1 or type 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and various unknown factors, not lifestyle.  As for type 2 diabetes, one of the biggest risk factors for the disease is being overweight, and any high-calorie diet can be a problem for weight management efforts – regardless of how much sugar is consumed. The best way to prevent type 2 diabetes is by maintaing a healthy lifestyle. Steering clear of the dessert table at your family’s Thanksgiving celebration is just one component of that.

When simple sugars are on your plate, there are ways to mitigate the damage. Exercise immediately before or after a sugar spike is a great way to help your body metabolize the sweets. Protein can help stabilize blood sugar levels, so when eating sugary foods, match the sweet treats with nuts or cheese cubes. A magnesium supplement can help the body replace nutrients lost when the body is processing too much sugar. High-probiotic foods – like kefir, yogurt and probiotic supplements – consumed after eating sugars can help feed good bacteria and support the immune system. Another supplement that can help is alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), an antioxidant that can improve insulin sensitivity.

To recover from overindulgence, don’t starve yourself the day after – drink lots of water and, when you feel hungry again, eat small meals that are high in protein and lower in carbohydrates.

The best holiday traditions don’t have to involve unhealthy foods. The best route, when possible, is to try to shift focus from food-related traditions and just enjoy time carved out for counting blessings with dear family and friends. Sometimes, though, a little pie can be good for the soul. If you do indulge, do so with intentionality, enjoying every bite!  Then do your best to resume good habits as quickly as possible.


Breast Cancer Awareness Starts with a Plan

by Tiffani on October 14, 2014

216855_5784About one in eight women develop invasive breast cancer at some point in their lives. Statistics like these shouldn’t come as a surprise – a great many of us have known and loved women affected by this terrible disease.

With Breast Cancer Awareness Month coming up in October, this is a great time to lovingly support those who are touched by cancer. It’s also an opportunity to learn more about breast cancer and its causes, and – if you haven’t done so already – make a plan to detect any signs of breast cancer early.

Every woman should have a plan in place to catch early warning signs.  Monthly breast self-examinations should be part of every woman’s routine, and annual mammograms should be on the calendar of every woman over 40.  Finding signs of the disease early makes a huge difference. Johns Hopkins Medical Center estimates that 40% of diagnosed breast cancers are found by women who detected lumps. And the American Cancer Society says that when breast cancer is detected at the early, localized stage, the 5-year survival rate is 98%.

A thorough self-exam takes about 15 minutes, once a month. You can find clear, illustrated instructions here. Having trouble remembering those monthly self-checks and regular screening appointments? Visit www.earlydetectionplan.org and either download their app, or sign up for automatic email alerts. Taking into account your age and most recent breast cancer screenings, the site will let you know you when it’s time for self-exams and clinical visits.

As for breast cancer prevention, there are many breast cancer risk factors that we can’t do anything about, like genetics. But there are still steps we all can take to improve our odds. Research has found links between healthy lifestyles and reduced breast cancer risks. Keep your weight at a healthy level. Try to be physically active, ideally exercising four or more hours each week.  Don’t smoke, and consume alcohol modestly. Enjoy a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. Also consider trying foods rich in nutrients believed to be helpful in fighting cancer, like green tea, flax seed, fish, nuts, and spices. Following these guidelines won’t just reduce breast cancer risks – they’ll contribute to a happy, healthy life.


A Toast to Organic Wine

by Tiffani on September 17, 2014

Red Wine and Cheese. Romantic Lunch OutdoorI admit it – I’m a bit of a “wino.” Give me a good, full-bodied Bordeaux that I can chew, and I am a happy woman! If you love wine and haven’t tried organics, you’re in for a treat. Organic beers and wines are better for your health, and better for the planet. They also happen to be delicious – organic wineries and brewers are growing fast, and trying many creative new methods and ingredients. Indulge in moderation and savor each sip.

To be certified organic by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), wine and beer must be made from grapes, hops, and yeast that have been grown and harvested organically. In addition, the beverages themselves have to be manufactured using approved methods and organic ingredients. This requirement rules out many of the chemical additives manufacturers use to ferment beer and wine, as well as added sulfites and other agents used to stop the fermenting process and preserve the finished drink.

For those of us who try to avoid pesticides, the grapes used in the organic wine-making process could be reason enough to choose organic. Grapes rank third on the most recent list of the most pesticide-contaminated, “dirtiest” produce analyzed by the Environmental Working Group Shopper’s Guide and “Dirty Dozen” report. (For those unfamiliar with the “Dirty Dozen” list, it’s a must-read. The EWG helps buyers prioritize their organic food purchases by listed foods most likely to retain pesticides. Visit http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/ for more information.)

Wine isn’t made from grape juice alone. Wine- and beer-makers aren’t required by United States law to list their ingredients on packages, and conventionally produced beverages can be full of additional ingredients, preservatives, and chemical additives. Most notably, in the case of wine, the USDA organic label means that wines can’t have sulfites added. Sulfites are common in many processed foods, and over-consumption of these preservatives can cause health problems, especially among people with asthma or food sensitivities. Small quantities of naturally occurring sulfites are present in every bottle of wine, whether produced organically or not – but by prohibiting additional sulfites, organic wines deliver far lower amounts.

Read labels carefully, as wines without USDA organic certification may simply list on the label that they’re manufactured with organic grapes, for example, or made without added sulfites. Even among certified organic wines, there is a lot of diversity in sustainable production processes. I recommend Hall Wines Cabernet Sauvignon for its complicated palate as well as the company’s commitment to green bottling. For something refreshing on these summer days, try DeLoach Vineyards Pinot Noir Rosé.

There are many reasons to choose organic beer as well. To be considered organic, beer must be made from organic hops and yeast. You can’t go wrong with Lamar Street Pale Ale, brewed by Chicago’s Goose Island Brewery and available at Whole Foods stores. Samuel Smith’s organic beers are sold widely in several varieties, and for lovers of stout beers, Bison Organic Chocolate Stout is a great starting point.



Holistic Medicine for Pets

by Tiffani on September 3, 2014

0008678-R20-037-17 (1)People love pets, and I am no exception – my dog Monster’s health is very important to me! Pets can benefit from some of the same holistic medicine tools that are so nourishing and helpful to people. Just remember to talk to your veterinarian first about what is right for you and your pet.

Like people, pets can benefit from whole foods. Consider offering your dog select “people foods” in addition to the usual fare. Eggs and cooked, boneless fish can be a great source of protein. A little canned pumpkin or a few diced prunes (be sure all traces of the pits have been removed) can alleviate digestive problems. Rice can soothe an upset stomach. A bit of yogurt with live cultures can be added to food if your pet is taking an antibiotic.

Enjoy whole-food benefits from the outside-in by soothing itchy pet skin with colloidal oatmeal. Grind oats to a find powder in a blender or food processor, then add to your pet’s bath or mix with a bit of water to form a paste. Rinse your pet with warm water after a few minutes. Vitamin E oil and chamomile tea rinses are other great medication-free options for soothing troubled skin.

People take vitamins and supplements. Should pets? Some should, and some shouldn’t. Talk to a trusted veterinarian about recommended supplements and dosages. Many pet owners are big fans of brewer’s yeast, which can boost pet immunity, prevent fleas, and deliver important B vitamins and other nutrients. There are many whole food supplement mixes for pets on the market, designed to concentrate whole, minimally processed foods into a pet-friendly format. These can be helpful for any pet, especially aging animals and recent shelter adoptees. Other high-quality supplement options deliver doses of useful vitamins and minerals, improving coats and alleviating illness without unnecessary medications.

It can be hard to find unbiased, research-based information about pet health. The best source of information is a veterinarian, animal expert, or a knowledgeable pet owner you know and trust. Never assume that a pet supplement is automatically safe for your animal – check with your veterinarian before adding anything to your pet’s diet. Interested in finding a holistic veterinarian? Contact one in the Chicago area by searching the American Holistic Veterinary Association database at http://www.ahvma.org/.


Soy: Friend or Foe?

by Tiffani on August 12, 2014

Edamame_-_boild_green_soybeansSoy is an ancient staple in Asian cuisines, but lately it’s gotten a lot of bad press. Is soy good for you, or bad?

The short answer is that soy can provide many health benefits if it’s consumed in modest amounts, and in a form that is either fermented or as close as possible to the whole state of the soybean.  Soy sauce, tempeh, miso, natto, edamame and tofu are all excellent choices. Soybean plants are native to southeastern Asia, and soy has been an important part of some Eastern diets for more than 5,000 years.

Unfortunately, soy derivatives have become commonly used in a shockingly high number of packaged foods, so many of us are at risk of consuming much more soy than we realize – and in a form that is highly processed and less desirable.  Soy lecithin, for example,  is an emulsifying ingredient used in a large number of packaged foods, ranging from chocolate bars to salad dressing.  These processed soy foods have little in common with the soy consumed in Asia for thousands of years.

Soy is one of the top eight most common food sources of allergies, and since 2006 food manufacturers have been required to state on the label whether or not a product contains soy.  Individuals with soy sensitivies and allergies must be vigilant, because soy derivatives are in medications, vitamins, In addition, consumers looking to avoid genetically-modified foods would do well to read soy-containing product labels carefully. Most of the soybeans grown in the United States are genetically modified. Unless the label notes that the soy is organic, odds are in favor of the soy being genetically modified.

Another soy concern stems from chemical substances called isoflavones, which occur naturally many beans and especially in soy beans. Isoflavones interact with human hormones, behaving like estrogen in the body. This aspect of soy has sparked worries and research related to unwanted effects of isoflavones, but early research suggests that soy may be helpful in alleviating menopause symptoms and preventing hormone-related cancers, like prostate cancer, endometrial cancer and breast cancer.

Other benefits of soy are clear and well-documented.  Soy is high in protein, and this protein is of a very high quality. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has publicly declared support for studies linking moderate soy consumption (25 grams of soy protein per day) with a lowered heart disease risk.

So consider enjoying whole soybean dishes, like tofu and steamed edamame, as well as fermented products like soy sauce, tempeh, miso, natto.  Avoid highly processed foods whenever possible, and avoid soy supplements.  As with all foods, enjoy everything in moderation, soy included.  And talk to your doctor or nutritionist if you have any questions about whether soy is right for you.

Here’s one of my favorite soy preparations –  a very simple, healthy protein meal. You can eat this with brown or white rice, or with vegetables or on its own. I prefer firm tofu because it holds the shape and it won’t fall apart when you boil them in the water.


1 ounce firm tofu, sliced

3 green onions, chopped

3 tablespoons light soy sauce

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon chili paste (if you want it spicy)


1. Boil Firm tofu in the water for 10 minutes and drain.

2. In a small bowl, mix green onions, soy sauce, sesame seeds, sesame oil and chili paste.

3. Cut tofu in cubes (or any size you like) and put it on a plate.

4. Drizzle the soy sauce mix over tofu.

Photo courtesy of Kanko on Flickr.


Choose Spa Treatments Wisely during Pregnancy

by Tiffani on July 31, 2014

pregnancy_spaPregnancy seems like a natural time to visit the spa. Expecting a child can put some women in touch with their bodies like never before, adding extra layers of gratification to any treatment. A visit to a spa or wellness center can also be a medication-free way to mitigate aches and pains.

As positive as this nourishment can be, a spa treatment during pregnancy is not just business as usual. Don’t book an appointment without mentioning the pregnancy.  While there are wonderful ways to relax and enjoy your visit, wellness treatments are powerful – and a few could be detrimental to the health of moms and little ones.

Pregnancy is a wonderful time to indulge in a classic deep-cleansing facial to open the pores and improve the complexion.  A hydrating facial will soothe the skin and relax the body. But be aware that skin is more sensitive during pregnancy, so gentle products should be used. Vigorous treatments that might normally bring out the best in your skin – like microdermabrasion, chemical peels, electronic stimulation, and deep extraction – can cause damage during pregnancy, so put these routines on hold.  Avoid any wrinkle therapies that might involve BHA (salicylic acid), vitamin A (retinoids), or vitamin K. Skip laser treatments as well.

Prenatal massages can rejuvenate the muscles, floating away pregnancy muscle strain and backache. If you get a massage, be sure to work with a therapist who has experience with pregnancy. You might want to skip any aromatherapy aspects of the massage, both for your comfort and to avoid stimulating uterine contractions. Reflexology massage can also cause contractions, so skip this unless your therapist is very knowledgeable and experienced with pregnancy. Many women find that the second trimester is an ideal time for a prenatal massage. Check with your doctor before the appointment, as many spas – including the Tiffani Kim Institute – need to obtain a letter from a doctor before a prenatal massage.

Heat treatments should be avoided throughout pregnancy, starting at the very beginning – don’t ramp up your body heat if there’s even a chance of pregnancy. Those wonderful hot stone massages should be skipped until after the baby arrives, as should heated body wraps, hydrotherapy, steam rooms, saunas and whirlpools. Over-heating the body can have serious, negative effects on a developing baby at all stages of pregnancy. Tanning beds are never a good idea, but they’re especially harmful during pregnancy.

Manicures and pedicures can be safe treats for a mom-to-be, in moderation – be aware that most nail polishes contain chemicals like formaldehyde and toluene that can be harmful during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester.

Even though some treatments should be avoided, don’t let these risks prevent you from visiting the spa. The right services can be not only safe, but extremely beneficial. Nourishing mom’s body and soul during pregnancy is good for everyone – baby included.


Healthy Hair from the Inside Out

by Tiffani on July 26, 2014

I always look at beauty from the inside out – what you eat is what you are. If your diet becomes unhealthy or sleep starts to fall by the wayside, you’ll see it immediately in your skin, your body, and your personality. A few months later, you’ll see it in your hair, too.

It takes longer for nutrition and lifestyle choices to become visible in the hair – vitamins and nutrients affect growth right at the follicle, and it takes time for hair formed there to grow long enough to be visible. If hair is looking thin or lackluster, it’s a good idea to think about overall health and lifestyle. Get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, manage stress conscientiously, and eat nutritiously.

The same foods important for general health are needed to support hair growth. Foods rich in omega-3s will help your body produce fatty acids needed to grow strong, thick hair. Try salmon, nuts (especially walnuts), seeds, and healthy oils.

Beta-carotene, which the body converts to Vitamin A, is essential for building all cells, including hair. Beta-carotene also nurtures a healthy scalp. Get plenty of beta-carotene by eating fruits and vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, blueberries, and apricots. Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in other essential vitamins and minerals as well, and have the added benefit of helping to alkalize the body’s pH.

Iron transports oxygen to hair follicles – many women with anemia, an iron shortage, experience hair loss. Iron is abundant in meat products like beef, chicken, and fish. Eat plenty of foods rich in zinc – like oysters and eggs – to fight hair loss, thin eyelashes, and scalp troubles. Finally, be sure to get plenty of protein. Meat is a great source of protein, but so are Greek yogurt, beans, nuts, and cheese.

Consider covering nutritional bases with a high-quality supplement. A high-potency multivitamin is a great start, as is a B-complex supplement. Remember that supplements can interact with certain medications such as some antibiotics and also specific diabetes medications. Please be certain and consult with your doctor before adding in additional nutritional supplements. You may also find it helpful to talk with your doctor about tests to check levels of iron and other nutrients.

There are many factors beyond nutrition that can have a big effect on hair. Genetics, hormone levels, certain illnesses, food allergies, and medications can all have dramatic effects on hair health. Talk with your doctor if you suspect any of these issues.

Whatever the state of your hair, eat well and take care of yourself. You’ll reap the rewards far beyond your scalp.


Protect Yourself from Lyme Disease

by Tiffani on June 19, 2014

SDC11220.JPGSummer means many of us are getting out of the city and into the sunshine. I have a home in Michigan that I love to visit with my dog, my “baby” Monster. I have been horrified to hear more and more about Lyme disease from my dog’s veterinarian and from pet-loving friends living in Michigan and Wisconsin.  Infection rates are on the rise in the Midwest and across the country.

Lyme disease is terrible for both animals and people. I hate the thought of my (very large) baby Monster becoming infected, and I want all my friends and readers to know enough about this disease to prevent it. Take ticks seriously, and protect yourself and those you love from Lyme disease this summer.

Lyme disease is carried by blacklegged ticks, which tend to be common in the areas surrounding Chicago – Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana counties near here are known risk areas. Ticks can be anywhere, but they like to gather in areas where they are likely to encounter people and animals.

Dress strategically if you know you’ll be around ticks. Cover up with a hat, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants. Skip the sandals and choose boots or shoes, as ticks like to stay near the ground. Wear light-colored clothing to make it easier to see any hitchhikers, and brush ticks away before they attach to the skin. Be especially vigilant in late spring and throughout the summer.

People can wear an insect repellant containing DEET or Permethrin. Talk to a veterinarian about treatments for pets.  There are many options, including powders, spot treatments, shampoos, collars, and oral medications.

After time outdoors, check yourself – as well as kids and pets – for any ticks that may have found a way to attach. Remove ticks as soon as possible, using fine-tipped tweezers and grasping as close as possible to the skin. Use firm pressure to pull straight up, then carefully wash the wound. It takes about 48 hours for Lyme disease bacteria to be transmitted, so finding ticks fast is important. Look closely – younger, smaller ticks are most likely to feed on small mammals carrying Lyme disease, and these can be harder to find than adult ticks. If you remove a blacklegged tick that you fear may be a Lyme disease carrier, consider saving the bug and to submit for testing.

The first sign of Lyme disease is usually a “bull’s eye” rash around the bite within a month of tick contact. The rash may spread over time painlessly and without any itch. This may be accompanied by fatigue, headaches, fever, nausea, or achiness. Leaving the disease untreated could lead to heart block, nervous system problems like meningitis or encephalitis, or painful joints and muscles. Most can be treated effectively with antibiotics, especially in the early stages of the disease.

Enjoy the beautiful weather, and stay safe!