Little Tick, Big Problem! How to avoid Lyme’s Disease.
Summer is around the corner and it’s a great time to enjoy outdoor activities. With summer comes ticks – and risk of Lyme disease.
The CDC estimates that about 300,000 Americans (one in 1,000) are diagnosed with Lyme disease every year. Lyme disease is a infection that is caused by bacteria that’s transmitted from a tick bite. The majority of cases of Lyme are due to a bite from a type of deer tick known as the black-legged tick. It’s the size of the head of a pin.
Here are some tips to avoid tick bites this summer.
- Keep your lawn well manicured. In addition, a wide patch of wood chips or gravel can provide a barrier that prevents ticks from jumping from the woods into your lawn.
- Avoid tall grass or brush.
- Keep deer out of your garden with an eight foot deer fence.
- Ticks get Lyme disease from mice, and so eliminate mouse habitats around your house like wood or rock piles.
- Wear protective clothing, long sleeves, long pants tucked into socks, & shoes.
- Avoid going barefoot or wearing open-toe sandals or shoes.
- Light-colored clothing helps spot ticks more easily.
- Apply an insect repellent with a 20% or higher concentration of DEET on your clothes, around your ankles and any bare areas of your skin.
- Permethrin is a commonly used tick pesticide that’s applied to clothing, not to your skin.
- Family pets can also get tick bites and tick-borne diseases. They can carry ticks into your house. Make sure to use tick collars on your pets and don’t forget to spray them.
- Once you are done enjoying outdoors, shower immediately and wash and dry your clothes immediately.
- Check for ticks especially around the armpits, groin, scalp, belt line, neck and head.
- Remove deer ticks on your skin as soon as you see them. Be sure to remove the entire tick including the head using a fine-tipped tweezers and grab the tick as close to the mouth, which is the part attached to your skin, as possible.
If you have been bitten by a tick, call your health care provider. Antibiotics may be needed to prevent Lyme disease.
Disclaimer: The information is intended to provide general education for patients and their families. The information provided does not constitute medical or health care advice for any individual and is not a substitute for medical and other professional advice and service.
Dr. Mahesh Ochaney is a solo practitioner who has been practicing Internal Medicine since 1991. Dr. Ochaney’s compassionate primary care has been recognized several times over the years, including being named a 2018 Top Doctor by Baltimore Magazine and receiving a State of Maryland Governor’s Citation.