Prior to heading outdoors to garden, hike or camp, protect you and your family. Lyme disease is spread by the bite of an infected tick. According to the CDC, in the United States there are about 300,000 infections annually. If you work or spend a lot of time in wooded or grassy areas, you could be bitten by an infected tick.
Educate yourself and know where to expect ticks. Ticks that cause Lyme disease are called blacklegged ticks and they live in moist and humid environments, predominantly in and near wooded or grassy areas.
Here are some tips from the CDC to help repel ticks on skin and clothing:
- Use repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours.
- Always follow product instructions.
- Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.
- Use products that contain permethrin on clothing.
- Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer.
To choose the right repellent for you visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you.
Don’t ignore the signs of Lyme disease which can begin 3-30 days after a tick bite. Symptoms include: fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes and of the people who get Lyme disease, 70 to 80% develop a rash, called an erythema migrans.
“Be proactive and check your entire body for ticks when you return from an area that may have ticks, even in your own yard,” CHS’s System Chief Medical Officer Patrick O’Shaughnessy, DO, recommends. “Seek medical attention if you observe any symptoms.”
Make sure to check your body and your child’s body for ticks, including: under the arms, ears, belly button, leg and back of the knees, head and body hair, torso. If any are found on clothing, put the clothing in the dryer. Also, don’t forget to check pets, because they can bring ticks into the house.
For more health information, go to CHS’s YouTube channel to view all of Dr. O’s Health Tips & Solutions.
If you need a physician, please visit www.chsli.org or call 1-855-CHS-4500.