News on Wellness

How to prevent ticks and lyme disease?


Is Lyme disease lurking in your backyard? Lyme disease – carried by tiny deer ticks commonly found in long grass and wooded areas — is the second fastest-growing infectious disease in the United States. You’re at highest risk for the disease if you live in the Northeast, upper Midwest, or Pacific Northwest regions, where deer ticks are more common.
Lyme disease begins subtly, with a red, ring-shaped rash — but, in some cases the rash never appears and the victim’s first symptom is arthritis of the joints. Untreated, Lyme disease can lead to muscoskeletal, cardiac and central nervous system disorders. With early treatment, the more severe effects of Lyme disease can be averted. But prevention is your best weapon against the disease.

Since the bacterium that causes Lyme disease is passed to humans through ticks, preventing the little bloodsuckers from latching themselves onto your body is the only sure way of preventing Lyme disease. These ticks commonly live in wooded areas with dense brush and high shrubs, where they are more prevalent during spring and fall months; ticks are much less likely to be found in open or grassy areas.

Protect yourself with these anti-tick tips:

  • Avoid tick-infested areas such as long grass and dense, wooded areas especially in May, June, and July.
  • Wear long pants tucked into your socks or boots, and a long-sleeved shirt tucked into your pants, if you plan to enter a wooded area.
  • Wear white or light colored clothes so ticks are easier to spot.
  • Use an insect repellent that contains DEET on your clothing, but sparingly and with caution.
  • Keep the areas around your house and garden clear of leaves, brush, and tall grass and your lawn mowed short.
  • Remove vegetation close to your home that attracts deer and construct physical barriers to prevent deer, and accompanying deer ticks, from coming near your house.
  • Place birdfeeders away from your house to keep the ticks they carry at bay.
  • If ticks are a particularly pesky problem in your area, you may consider having tick pesticides (acaricides) applied to your property.
  • When you leave a high-risk tick area, inspect yourself carefully and remove any ticks.
  • If a tick bites you, save the tick and bring it to your doctor for analysis to determine whether the tick was carrying Lyme disease.

If you think you may have been infected with Lyme disease, look for the telltale signs and see your doctor fast. You may need to begin immediate antibiotic treatment.

You don’t have to let ticks terminate your outdoor activities. By taking a few precautions, you can outsmart ticks and stop them from making you their next meal – and keep yourself safe from Lyme disease.

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