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Lyme Disease


The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid tick-infested areas. If you do spend time in these areas, the following can reduce your risk of infection.

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long, light-colored pants tucked into socks or boots.
  • Stay on trails when walking or hiking and avoid high grass.
  • Use insect repellants. Repellants that contain DEET should be used in concentrations no higher than 15% for children and 30% for adults. Remember, repellants are not recommended to be used on infants. Permethrin is a repellant that can only be applied to clothing, not exposed skin.
  • After each day spent in tick-infested areas, check yourself your children, and your pets for ticks. Ticks tend to prefer the back of the knee, armpit, scalp, groin, and back of the neck.
  • Promptly remove any attached tick. Folk remedies, such as burning the tick with a match or covering it with petroleum jelly or nail polish, are not effective and can be dangerous because they may force the tick to regurgitate its gut contents, increasing the risk of disease transmission. The tick removal method described below is proven to be effective, and is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Carefully grasp the tick by using tweezers to grip the tick by its mouthparts which are close to the skin. Do not squeeze the tick’s body.
  • Pull steadily directly away from your skin. Because removing the tick is your main goal, do not be overly concerned if its mouthparts break off in the process (as they will be shed naturally).
  • Clean the wound and disinfect the site of the bite.

Prevention of Lyme disease also involves keeping wildlife (especially deer and rodents) out of your backyard and making your yard less attractive to ticks.

  • Remove leaf litter and brush from around your home.
  • Prune low-lying bushes to let in more sunlight.
  • Keep your grass short.
  • Plant deer resistant plants near your home.
  • Keep woodpiles in sunny areas off the ground.
  • Clean up the ground around bird feeders.
  • If you are going to use insecticides around your home, always follow the label instructions and never apply these chemicals near streams or other bodies of water.

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