Lyme disease is usually carried by deer ticks and can be transmitted through a bite. Some common symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, joint aches, and a characteristic skin rash. However, symptoms can affect any system in the body and can mimic symptoms of many different diseases.
The most important thing you can do to avoid Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases is to prevent tick bites. You can actually get many tick-borne diseases from only one tick bite. The longer a tick is attached, the greater the risk is for disease transmission, so prompt removal after discovering a tick on you or your pets is crucial. If you’re someone who spends a lot of time outdoors, it can be worth it to check yourself often for ticks.
The Global Lyme Alliance has created AWARE to help identify the best possible courses of action in preventing tick bites.
- AVOID areas where ticks live. Ticks thrive in places like 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 a shortcut.
- APPLY EPA-approved tick repellent (such as DEET or picaridin) and insecticide (such as permethrin) to skin, clothing, and shoes as directed. Watch video on how to properly apply repellent.
- 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
Following these steps will reduce your odds of getting a tick bite and/or a tick-borne illness.
If you are bitten, remove the tick promptly. It is recommended that you try to identify the tick. Tick identification and testing is available. If you have any concerns, consult your doctor.