How can I Prevent Lyme Disease:
– Perform tick checks of your skin after spending time outdoors.
– Consider bathing after spending time outdoors, this can help wash off ticks that have not yet attached, as well as make it easier to find them on your skin.
– Wear long sleeves and pants, especially when walking in high grass and wooded areas.
– Apply tick repellant to your skin. Products containing at least 20-30% DEET work the best. This will also protect you from mosquito bites.
– Apply products containing permethrin (0.5%) to your clothes; as above, this will protect you from mos-quito bites as well.
– Perform tick checks on your pets that go outdoors, and ask your veterinarian about any other ways of preventing tick bites and Lyme disease in your pets.
– Dry clothes in high heat for one hour to kill any remaining ticks.
– In some cases, your doctor may offer a prophylactic, single dose of an antibiotic to prevent Lyme disease after a tick bite. This is not necessary for every tick bite, because the overall risk of contracting Lyme disease from a single tick bite is low, and if treatment is started soon after symptoms start than the prognosis is excellent. The tick needs to be attached and feeding for about 36 hours in order for you to acquire Lyme disease, so ticks that are not attached for that long cannot transmit Lyme disease.
When Should I Call My Doctor?
-If you experience a combination of symptoms including fevers, chills, headaches, fatigue, muscle or joint aches, especially in the spring or summer. Upper respiratory symptoms such as cough generally suggest a different diagnosis, not Lyme disease.
-A rash (called erythema migrans or a “bull’s eye” rash) is characteristic of early Lyme disease, and usually appears as an expanding, flat red rash on any part of the body. It can expand up to 12 inches in diameter with clearing in the middle, leading to a “bull’s eye” appearance. The rash occurs in about 70-80% of people and therefore absence of a rash does not mean you don’t have Lyme disease. A minority of people can develop a number of “bull’s eye” rashes on multiple parts of the body. A small bump or redness at the site of a tick bite that resolves in 1-2 days is common, and is not a sign of Lyme disease.