It’s Spring – Time to Prevent Lyme Disease
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is a bacterial disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi. Within 1 to 2 weeks of being infected, people or pets may have a “bull’s-eye” rash with fever, headache, and muscle or joint pain.
As we start spending more time outdoors during spring and into summer, we have to be aware of the risk of tick bites. Gardening, camping, hiking, and just playing outdoors are all great spring and summertime activities, but it is important to make tick protection part of your outdoor plans as well.
Immature ticks (larvae and nymphs) are so small that they can be difficult to see. However, all stages of ticks need to feed on blood to continue on to the next stages-therefore these tiny ticks can be an important threat.
When you’re outside this spring and summer, prevent tick bites and reduce your risk of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases by following these tips.
Protect Yourself from Tick Bites
- Know where to expect ticks: Blacklegged ticks live in moist and humid environments, particularly in or near wooded or grassy areas. You may come into contact with ticks during outdoor activities around your home or when walking through vegetation such as leaf litter or shrubs. To avoid ticks, walk in the center of trails.
- Use a repellent with DEET: (on skin or clothing) or permethrin (on clothing and gear). Products containing permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear which can remain protective through several washings. Repellents containing 20% or more DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) can be applied to the skin, and they can protect up to several hours. Always follow product instructions! Parents should apply repellents to their children, taking care to avoid application to hands, eyes, and mouth.
- Perform Daily Tick Checks: Check your body for ticks after being outdoors, even in your own yard. Conduct a body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas by searching your entire body for ticks. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body and remove any tick you find. Take special care to check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:
- Under the arms
- In and around the ears
- Inside belly button
- Back of the knees
- In and around all head and body hair
- Between the legs
- Around the waist
- Check your clothing and pets for ticks: Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing and pets. Both should be examined carefully, and any ticks that are found should be removed. Placing clothes into a dryer on high heat effectively kills ticks.
- Prevent Ticks on Animals: Prevent family pets from bringing ticks into the home. Maintain your family pet under a veterinarian’s care. Two of the ways to get rid of ticks on dogs and cats are putting on tick medicine or using a tick collar. Be sure to use these products according to the package instructions.
For more information on this topic, click here.
Braxton’s Animal Works carries a product called Lyme-Aid Diagnostic tick Testing Kit that retails for $7.49. Use this convenient kit to find out if a tick is a carrier for Lyme disease before symptoms appear! Use the patented tick remover to remove the tick from you or your pet and submit it for testing for a $39.95 fee. Results are quick and 99.9 % accurate, providing valuable information for your doctor or veterinarian. For more information on this product click here.