How is Lyme disease prevented?
Deer ticks are commonly found in areas of wooded, grassy and bushy vegetation. It is best to avoid these areas, but it is not always possible to do so. In order to decrease your risk of contracting Lyme disease, the following precautions can be taken, it is especially important to take these into consideration if you are in an area where known cases of Lyme disease have been reported.
- When in the above-mentioned areas, try to cover up as much as possible. Wearing shoes, long pants and long-sleeved shirts will help to do this. Also, tucking your pants into your socks and even wearing a hat and gloves can help as an extra measure. Try to walk on the trails and avoid going into thicker bush or grass. Keep your dog on a leash to prevent him from doing the same.
- Always apply insect repellents, avoiding your eyes, ears and mouth. Insect repellents with a 10 percent DEET (diethyltoluamide) will last about two hours on your skin. Try to use one that is 20 percent or higher. Permethrin, which is used on clothes, prevents ticks from getting onto clothes and attaching to the skin.
- Try to get rid of any places in your yard that may have ticks, these include thick bushes and other places where you have possibly found a tick before. Keep piles of wood in sunny areas to stop them becoming an ideal habitat for ticks.
- After being in nature or tick-prone areas, always check yourself and your kids for ticks. Some may be very small and difficult to spot, so it is important to try and be as thorough as possible. Deer ticks are sometimes the size of the head of a pin and are hard to see immediately. You often don’t feel when a tick latches onto you, so you should look carefully, especially between your fingers, toes and around your neck, head and ears. The latter can be difficult so you may need to ask someone to assist you in checking.
It is sometimes best to shower as soon as you get inside, as this may help to remove some ticks.
- It is also possible to contract Lyme disease more than once, so don’t assume that you are immune if you’ve already had it.
Remove the tick with tweezers as soon as you find it. Grabbing it by the head and making sure that you do not squeeze it too hard as its body might break off, leaving its head in your skin.
Once you have removed the entire tick, you should be able to see its head and body, treat the area of the bite with antiseptic.
Best practice will be to contact your doctor if you or your loved one is bitten by a tick and to keep in the tick in a sealed container for your doctor to determine if it is a Deer tick.