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Reducing Your Risk of Lyme Disease
- Avoid ticks in the areas where you live and work
- Protect yourself from getting a tick on your body
- Avoid moist, shaded, wooded, or brushy areas.
- When walking in the outdoors, stay on cleared, well-traveled paths, and walk in the center of trails to avoid overgrown grass and brush.
- Avoid sitting on the ground or on stone walls.
- Remove leaf litter, brush, and woodpiles from around your home and the edges of your yard.
- Mow the grass often.
- Discourage animals that carry ticks from coming onto your property.
- Wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt of a light color. Light-colored clothing makes it easier for you to see any ticks that may get on you.
- Tuck shirt into pants and pants into socks. Wear a hat and closed shoes. This makes it more difficult for ticks to get onto your skin.
- Put your clothes in the dryer for about 20 minutes after spending time outdoors. This will kill any unseen ticks.
- Do frequent tick checks, including a naked, full body exam when returning from the outdoors. Remember that very young (“larval” or “nymph”) ticks can be very small; some not much bigger than a sesame seed.
If you find any ticks, do the following:
- With fine-point tweezers, grab the tick at the place where it is attached, next to the skin.
- Gently pull the tick straight out.
- Save the tick in a small vial and mark the date.
- Wash your hands and clean the tweezers with alcohol.
- Report the bite to your doctor.
- Watch carefully for any signs of Lyme disease, especially a rash at the site of the bite and/or fever; symptoms usually appear within 30 days of the bite.
- Reviewer: David L. Horn, MD
- Review Date: 11/2015
- Update Date: 12/20/2014