Because diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease is still evolving, prevention is critical. When engaging in outdoor activities, wear light-colored clothing so that crawling ticks can be seen. Tuck pant legs into boots or socks so that ticks do not have access to skin and may more easily be seen. Use insect repellents with DEET or Permethrin (cream 5%) in high-risk areas. Use tick and flea preventatives on your pets. Inspect yourself, your children, and your pets frequently for ticks, and remove any attached ticks promptly using proper removal procedures. Permethrin has been found to be just as effective at keeping ticks away than DEET and is less toxic to the skin. You can spray the Permethrin on your clothes or buy clothing that already has Permethrin infused into the clothing for up to 10 to 20 washes.
If you are looking for a deet-free tick repellant, TickTock naturals is a natural tick repellent made from organic ingredients. https://www.ticktocknaturals.com
Avoid areas with high grass. When hiking, stay on the trails. Do not sit on stone walls. Wear shoes, not sandals. According to the Lyme Disease Association, “Ticks are most likely to be in woods, where woods meet lawn, where lawn meets fields, tall brush/grass, under leaves, under ground cover (low growing vegetation), near stone walls or wood piles, shady areas, around bird feeders, and in outside pet areas.” A lent roller can be used to roll your body to pick up any small ticks that you may have missed. Like we mentioned above, spray your entire body with tick repellant.
Here are more details on how to protect yourself against ticks: https://www.lymedisease.org/lyme-basics/ticks/personal-protection/
The following instructions on how to remove a tick safely come from the lymedisease.org website:
If A Tick Bites You:
• Don’t squeeze, twist or squash it. Don’t burn it with a match or cover it with Vaseline.
• Use fine-point tweezers or a special tick-removing tool. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. If you don’t have tweezers, protect your fingers with a tissue.
• Pull the tick straight out with steady, even pressure. Click here to view a tick’s mouth and why it is so important to pull out the tick correctly.
• Disinfect the bite area and wash your hands.
• Save the tick for testing (alive if possible) in a small bottle or plastic bag with a green leaf or damp piece of tissue.
• Label it with your name, date, site of bite and how long tick was attached.
The following instructions on how to remove a tick safely come from the Texas Department of State Health Services: When handling or removing ticks, use forceps or tweezers. If you use your hands, wear disposable gloves or shield your fingers with a paper towel or other suitable material. When removing ticks from a person, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure. DO NOT twist or jerk the tick, as this may cause the mouthparts to break off, leaving them embedded in the skin.
Checkout these tick Removal Tweezers made by Tick Ease: https://tickease.com
- Igenex: https://igenex.com/product/tick-test/
- Tick Report: https://www.tickreport.com/
- Vet DNA: http://www.vetdna.com/
Remember that whether or not you actually find a tick, to stay alert for symptoms of any type tick-borne illness. A bullseye rash is a good indicator of a tick bite, but remember that a large percentage of people never saw a tick or developed a bullseye rash. You may even develop a rash that looks nothing like the classic bullseye rash. Early symptoms of recent exposure to tick-borne illness include flu-like symptoms (fever, headache, and nausea), joint pain, or dizziness. If you are showing any of these symptoms, please consult with a physician as soon as you can. The sooner you can start treating for a tick bite, the less likely you are to develop late stage Lyme disease.