Prevention of Lyme Disease
To prevent Lyme disease, avoid grasslands and wooded areas where incidence of the disease is high. When outside in these areas, apply insect repellent containing DEET (n,n-diethyl-m toluamide) to exposed skin. Apply permethrin (kills ticks on contact) to clothes and avoid getting this substance on the skin because it is toxic.
Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants tucked into boots may prevent ticks from reaching the skin. Light-colored clothing makes it easier to see ticks.
Check clothing and skin carefully, especially where clothing touches the skin (e.g., cuffs, underwear elastic). Shower after all outdoor activities; if a tick is on the skin but unattached, it may wash off.
Run the fingers gently over the skin. An attached tick feels like a small scab. The tick must be attached to a person for 2 to 3 days to pass on the infection, so removing it within 36 hours will significantly reduce the risk for Lyme disease.
Carefully examine these areas on the body:
- Behind the knees
- Between fingers and toes
- Ears (inside and behind)
- Hairline and top of the head
- Navel (belly button)