Preventing Lyme and other Tick-Borne Diseases
Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi and it is transmitted by deer ticks. Some early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease include a skin rash, fatigue, chills and fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, and/or swollen lymph nodes. The disease is treated by antibiotics, but it can be a difficult illness to recognize and treat.
The key to preventing Lyme disease is to protect yourself and your family from exposure to ticks. Note that ticks are active all year long as long as the ground remains unfrozen, but Lyme disease peaks during the months of May through July.
You can decrease the chances of being bitten by a tick with a few precautions:
- Avoiding tick-infested areas. If you are in tick infested areas, walk in the center of trails to avoid contact with overgrown grass, brush, and leaf litter at trail edges.
- Use tick repellents. Spray repellent containing a 20% concentration of DEET on clothes and on exposed skin. You can also treat clothes (especially pants, socks, and shoes) with permethrin, which kills ticks on contact or buy clothes that are pre-treated.
- Bathe or shower. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within 2 hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you. Also, after being outdoors, wash and dry clothing at a high temperature to kill any ticks that may remain on clothing. Using duct tape is also a great technique to remove ticks.
- Perform daily tick checks. Always check for ticks after being outdoors, even in your own yard. Inspect all body surfaces carefully. If you find a tick, remove it immediately using tweezers. DO NOT use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish, or other products. Ticks must be attached at least 24 hours before they begin transmitting disease.
To learn more about preventing Lyme disease, see the following pages:
Top Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Ticks These Days By Thomas Mather
How to Remove a Tick- Youtube video
Tick Identification Chart
Detick with duct tape
Tick Repellents Fact Sheet
Preventing Disease Spread by Lyme Booklet
CDC Tick Prevention Fact Sheet
For more information about Lyme disease, see:
Lyme Disease Frequently Asked Questions
Lyme Disease Checklist
Lyme Disease Spanish Portuguese
Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome
To learn more about other tick-borne diseases, see these Public Health Fact Sheets:
Babesiosis Spanish Portuguese
Anaplasmosis Spanish Portuguese
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Spanish Portuguese
Tularemia Spanish Portuguese