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Preventing Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases

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

Tick Biteology

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

Gardening Tips 

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