Lyme Disease Prevention Tips
Summer has finally arrived, and the great outdoors beckon us to come out and hike, garden, picnic, and play. At this time of year, it's important to remember that we share the woods and fields with ticks – some of which carry Lyme disease, the most common vector-borne disease in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 300,000 Lyme disease infections occur each year. The disease has multiple symptoms, including headache, fever, extreme fatigue, and joint and back pain. If left untreated, Lyme disease can also impair the heart and nervous system.
You can protect yourself and your family from Lyme disease with a few simple precautions.
Moisture + humidity = a tick's favorite climate. Tall grass and woods are prime locations for ticks, so walk in the center of a pathway, where there is little or no overgrowth, whenever possible.
Be a tick turn-off. Use a repellent with DEET on skin or clothing, or permethrin on your clothing and gear. Parents should apply repellant on their kids, and always take care to avoid the hands, eyes and mouth.
Dress appropriately. Wear long pants, and add another level of safety by pulling your socks up over your pant legs.
Once you're back home – you're not "out of the woods" yet! Perform a full-body tick check on yourself and your children, when you're back indoors. Use a full-length mirror when checking yourself and take special care to check areas where ticks are especially likely to burrow:
- In and around the ears
- Inside the belly button
- Back of the knees
- In and around all head and body hair
- Between the legs
- Around the waist
For more helpful information on preventing Lyme disease, visit the CDC website.