The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid outdoor spaces where deer ticks live and breed. This includes tall grass, bushy and forest areas.
But for many of you that simply isn’t realistic, or what you want to do.
So for you who like to venture out and explore this great big world (myself included), it is essential to know how to protect yourself from ticks.
How To Avoid Ticks And Prevent Lyme Disease
- Wear light-colored clothing. This makes ticks easier to spot so you can get rid of them before they reach your skin.
- Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Button all the buttons so sleeves are tight around the wrists.
- Tuck pants into long socks and boots. This prevents ticks from crawling up your legs.
- Stay in the middle of trails. Don’t venture off into high grasses or forest areas because ticks are more prevalent there.
- Maintain your yard and keep the grass cut and hedges trimmed. Here is a great article to help you tick-proof your yard.
- Spray your clothing and shoes with tick repellent. Typically I recommend natural products, but you have to weigh the benefits and risks for yourself. And everyone has their own opinion about this. So you have to decide what works best for you. In the past I’ve made my own essential oil repellents and tried a variety of natural repellents and personally haven’t found them to be as effective. Perhaps I haven’t found the right one. But, based on my situation, I’ve come to the following conclusion: Because I’ve been infected with Lyme twice, I want to reduce the chances of my loved ones getting sick and my being reinfected as much as possible. I just recently overcame my fear of going out into my backyard again. (And trust me, that fear is real. And when you have children it is heightened.) Currently, I’m using a Deet Repellent when I’m in areas I believe ticks may be lurking. (Even though I don’t like the chemicals, I hate the Lyme more.) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed a handy online tool to help you select the repellent that is best for you and your family. I also ordered an Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus repellent for a more natural option to repel mosquitoes for when I’m not in tick-infested areas. You can find it here: Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent. (Like I said earlier, I generally recommend natural products. So if you’re wanting to go all-natural the next tip is for you. Just keep in mind that this option may not be as effective as some of the chemical options.)
- Some essential oils that may deter ticks include lemon, citronella, eucalyptus, lemongrass, peppermint, tea tree, geranium, catnip, clove and lavender. Essential oils are quite potent, so mix a few drops with a carrier oil (such as jojoba or olive) and apply to your skin. Or, you may prefer to make your own tick spray. The following video shows how to make a simple essential oil tick spray using only 3 ingredients.
- Check your body for ticks. Especially after spending time outdoors. And especially if you have a pet that lives indoors. Use a full-length mirror to check your entire body, taking special care to check the warmest areas, including: under the arms, under where elastic clothing straps have been, inside the belly button (yep, even there), the scalp and all hair, behind the knees, inside the elbows, between the legs, around the waist and inside and around the ears.
- Check clothing for ticks. Put clothes in the dryer on high heat to kill ticks.
- Check your pets for ticks. Remove any ticks that you find.
How To Remove A Tick
Don’t squeeze or squash the tick. Also, don’t burn it or cover it with petroleum jelly.
First, use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers to remove the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull the tick straight out.
Then disinfect the entire area.
Save the tick in a ziplock bag or bottle for testing. Label the bag with your name, the date you removed the tick, the site of the tick bite, and how long you believe the tick was attached.
Learn about free tick testing.
Over the next few days and weeks be vigilant and watch for symptoms of Lyme disease. If you develop rashes or flu-like symptoms do not overlook them.
Go to the doctor and report the tick bite and symptoms.
You can find a Lyme Doctor in your area through this link.
There are many steps you can take to protect yourself from ticks and Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. Furthermore, wearing long pants and boots, staying in the middle of trails and avoiding tall grass, shrubs and forest areas are key to prevention.
What tips would you add to this list?
Please share your comments and questions in the comment section below. I love hearing from you!
For more on Lyme disease, you may want to check out:
- Celebrities With Lyme Disease
- Is Chronic Lyme Disease Real? Part 1
- Lyme Disease Awareness
- Warning: Lyme Disease Is Spreading Faster Than AIDS
- 16 Vital Facts About Lyme Disease: A National Epidemic
- Living With Lyme Disease, Part 2
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Finally, the information provided in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to treat, prevent, diagnose or cure any disease or health problem.