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: