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Lyme Disease Prevention
Preventing tick bites is the best defense against Lyme disease.
If Lyme disease is not caught early and treated properly, the disease enters a chronic state. Chronic Lyme disease can have life long implications and frequently devastates lives. Learn more about prevention below.
Dogs are considered a good gauge of the exposure of their human owners to infected ticks because they usually share the same environment and visit the same outdoor areas. In other words, canines are considered to be sentinel indicators of Lyme disease risk for humans.
– Source: lymedisease.org
What you wear when working or playing could reduce your chances of tick bites.
Remember: Ticks start LOW and crawl UP; ticks do not jump, fly or drop from trees, they are down on the ground and crawl up until they find a good spot to attach. Tucking pant legs into socks is a good way to keep ticks on the outside where they may be seen or get brushed off. Source TERC.
Understanding a tick’s favorite habitat
Ticks tend to reside near the ground in brush, piles of leaves, tall grasses, bushes, and stacked logs. Therefore, when hiking, stay to the middle of cleared trails avoiding long grasses, brush, and sitting on logs.
Some high risk activities include playing in leaves or the woods, gathering logs, gardening, mowing, hiking, golfing and fishing near a grassy bank, biking or running off trail, playing in tall grasses even in sand dunes.
How ticks find their hosts*
Ticks find their hosts by detecting animals’ breath and body odors, or by sensing body heat, moisture, and vibrations. Some species can even recognize a shadow. In addition, ticks pick a place to wait by identifying well-used paths. Then they wait for a host, resting on the tips of grasses and shrubs. Ticks can’t fly or jump, but many tick species wait in a position known as “questing”. While questing, ticks hold onto leaves and grass by their third and fourth pair of legs. They hold the first pair of legs outstretched, waiting to climb on to the host. When a host brushes the spot where a tick is waiting, it quickly climbs aboard. Some ticks will attach quickly and others will wander, looking for places like the ear, or other areas where the skin is thinner. Image source: TERC
Prevention – Dressing Defensively
When able, opt to wear a long sleeved shirt, pants, and shoes/socks tucking the pants into the socks. Tie back long hair and wear a hat. In addition, light-colored clothing helps you identify ticks before they attach.
Prevention- Consider wearing tick repellant treated clothing
Permethrin actually kills ticks. There are three ways to get permethrin treated clothing:
- Purchase permethrin treated clothing at your local recreational store such as REI, Dicks, Cabelas, Rusted Moon, LL Bean, Columbia. Labels state the permethrin lasts approximately 70 washings.
- Purchase permethrin and spray your own clothing. Protection lasts approximately 6 washings. Carefully follow directions and treat the inside and outside of the garment. Spray your footwear, socks, pants, hats, tents, backpacks… SEE “DIY Permethrin Clothing” VIDEO BELOW
- Insect Shield your own clothing through mail order. Send in your own clothing for treatment. Protection last between 70-100 washings. SEE “Mail Order Your Own Clothing for Permethrin Treatment” VIDEO BELOW
For further information on permethrin’s safety, effectiveness and more, visit: Should I Wear Tick Repellent Clothing?
Tick Bite Protection With Permethrin-Treated Summer Clothing – above image source
DYI Permethrin clothing – Reduce the Opportunity for Tick Bites:
Mail order your own clothing for Permethrin treatment:
Prevention – Consider spraying repellant on your skin – chemical and organic options
Various repellants are available. Studies point to DEET, picardin, BioUD,and lemon eucalyptus oil as having varying amount of effectiveness.
BioUD – The Natural Replacement to Deet. “A formulation of a natural active ingredient isolated from a wild tomato plant which is a very effective natural alternative to DEET.”
For more information on skin repellents, visit:
Map of One Type of Tick that Bites Humans and Transmits Disease
Comments: The highest risk of being bitten occurs during spring and summer. Dog ticks are sometimes called wood ticks.
Adult females are most likely to bite humans.
12 reasons to take ticks seriously
Q. What’s the best way to remove a tick from a person?
A. Don’t use a match. Just like you would with your dog, grab a pair of tweezers and slowly pull out the tick at a right angle from your skin. You want to get the tweezers as close to your skin as possible and remove the entire tick… Be wary of several species of ticks because each can transmit diseases to humans… Read mor
Protect your pets
- Pets can bring ticks into the house.
- Wash hands after removing ticks from your pets.
- Speak with your local veterinarian about preventive measures for your pets, such as colors, meds and vaccines.
- CPAC – an indépendant council established to create guidelines for the optimal control of internal and external parasites that threaten the health of pets and people- reported that 5,408 dogs, equivalent to 1 in 30 dogs, tested positive for Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease in Pets is a reliable indicator of a its presence in an area.
– Article from Shari Lyons, DVM – Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Ticks prefer tall grass or wooded areas, so the park or local nature area could be a haven for ticks. Don’t forget the back yard or dog park, though. Ticks are active from spring to fall, but are most problematic in early spring and mid to late fall. It is common to find the first tick before we are even thinking spring, so be prepared to start tick prevention for your pets early! Some of the older flea and tick products are not as effective as the new, so check with your veterinarian to determine which product is best for your pet. Options include topical, oral, and collars (not the old fashioned ones!) so there is a product for every pet’s individual needs. (see the chart below for available flea and tick products)
Since it takes several hours for an attached tick to transmit disease, you can usually prevent disease transmission to your pets by following a regular schedule to look for and remove ticks.
How to Handle Ticks?
Prevent Ticks from Attaching
Prevent, prevent, prevent!!!
If your pet is exposed to areas of tick risk… Read More.
Tick Key Product Video
Manage your outdoor spaces
Protect Your Yard – Perimeter Sprays and Granules
Perimeter Sprays and Granules: The single most effective way to reduce blacklegged (deer) ticks in your yard is by insecticide applications that are applied mainly to the yard perimeter, shady perennial beds, or along trails and paths in woods… Read more at TERC.
* Image above attributed to the CDC
For more information, visit https://www.lymedisease.org/lyme-basics/ticks/landscape/
How to remove a tick
If you are infected by a tick bite, symptoms can begin any time. Early symptoms are flu-like, such as fever, fatigue, headache, and joint pains, and if left untreated can progress to neurological, cardiac, psychiatric issues, and more.
ILADS, the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, states a ten fold increase in Lyme and associated disease infections as now reported by the CDC.
Previously, the CDC was at odds with the Lyme community over the number of Lyme cases. Please see the CDC graph below for the recent 21 past years.
View information on the Blacklegged Tick lifecycle. This is one of the ticks that cause Lyme Disease among other infection.
* Diagram above attributed to the CDC