How to Prevent Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is spread by the bite of an infected blacklegged (deer) tick and an estimated 476,000 cases occur each year In the United States. If you camp, hike, work, or play outside, you could be bitten by an infected tick. Preventing Lyme disease is one of the most important things you can do. Below are simple tips to help prevent Lyme disease.
BE TICK AWARE
Practicing good tick bite prevention habits is the best way to prevent Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. Good habits range from what clothing you wear, where you walk, and how often you check for ticks. Simply, it’s important to Be Tick AWARE.
AVOID areas where ticks live. Ticks thrive in wood piles, leaf litter, long grass, beach grass, bushy areas, stone walls, and perimeters where the lawn meets the woods.
WEAR light-colored clothing to spot ticks more easily; long-sleeved shirt tucked in at the waist, long pants tucked into high socks, closed-toe shoes, and a hat with your hair tucked in, if possible. Do not walk in the grass barefoot or in open sandals, even if it’s cut short.
APPLY EPS-approved tick repellent (such as DEET or picaridin) and insecticide (such as permethrin) to skin, clothing, and shoes as directed.
REMOVE clothing upon entering the home; toss into the dryer at high temperature for 10-15 minutes to kill live ticks. Putting them in the washer, however, will not.
EXAMINE yourself and your pets for ticks daily. Feel for bumps paying close attention to the back of knees, groin, armpits, in and behind the ears, belly button, and scalp. Check everywhere – ticks love to hide! Shower or bathe as soon as possible to wash away unattached ticks. If you find a tick, remove it quick! The longer it is attached, the more likely it will transmit a disease.
PROTECT YOUR PETS
Tick bite prevention is crucial for all members of your family, including pets. The risk to your dog of contracting Lyme or other tick-borne disease is on the rise. Research shows that cases of Lyme and other TBDs among dogs has increased 112% over the last five years (Companion Animal Parasite Council).
This increased risk to our pets means an increased risk to you and your family, as ticks target both ends of the leash. If your pet, particularly dogs, goes outdoors they are at an increased risk for getting a tick bite. Add to that, your pet can serve as a tick taxi and will unwittingly carry ticks inside your home, exposing you and your family to a tick bite.
Ask your veterinarian about tick repellent products for your pets.
WATCH VIDEO ABOUT THREAT OF LYME DISEASE
Ticks, the carriers of diseases, are small crawling bugs that have eight legs and are related to spiders and mites.Learn more
By removing the tick as soon as you can, you reduce the chance that you, a family member or pet will get infected.Learn more
Check out this tick repellent roundup to understand the various repellent ingredients and their pros and cons.Learn more