Lyme Disease: What is It and How Do You Prevent it?

April 14, 2014
by Michael Barber
Lyme Disease: What is It and How Do You Prevent it?

Lyme disease is an illness caused by bacteria transmitted through a tick bite. While not all tick bites will cause Lyme disease, some ticks are transmitters. Lyme disease is a very difficult disease to diagnose because the symptoms can vary wildly between sufferers. Most often the symptoms of Lyme disease are very flu-like in nature, including fever, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue. This makes it easy to mistake symptoms for other illnesses besides Lyme disease. Prevention goes a long way in stopping Lyme disease, and these five methods can help you lower your risk of getting lyme disease.

Related: 11 Things You Need to Know About Mosquitoes

Create a Landscape to Discourage Tick Infestations

To discourage ticks from your yard, make sure to keep grass short, leaves raked, and brush eliminated. Put down wood chips around recreational areas to prevent ticks from entering. You can also apply tick pesticide, such as bifenthin, to reduce the number of ticks in the yard. 

Avoid Tick Areas

Avoid wooded areas during the heat of tick season, which is spring and summer. Ticks live in trees and in moist, shaded environments with lots of leaves and tall grass. They also live in areas with rodents and deer, since those are their primary food sources. If you go walking on wooded trails, make sure to stay in the center of the path, and don't explore the woods.

Related: Don't Be Rash: 4 Common Summer Irritants and When to Bug Out

Repel Ticks from Biting

The best way to repel ticks is to use a bug spray with DEET in the formula. 20 to 30 percent of DEET in a can is enough to keep ticks away. When applying bug spray, avoid contact with the hands, eyes, and mouth. Children should never apply bug spray to themselves. 

Protect Your Dog from Tick Bites

Ticks love dogs and having a pet will increase chances of them entering your home and your dog catching Lyme disease. Lyme disease is more potent to dogs and can even kill them. In the spring and summer, check your dog daily for ticks. There are many safe tick medicines to treat your dog's fur and skin with as well.

Related: Types of Bee Sting Reactions and How to Act Fast

Check for Ticks When Home

Before you go out in a tick infested area, put on light-colored clothing so it is easier to spot them and pick them off. Check your body for ticks when you get home, especially warm areas like the inside of your elbows or your inner thighs. Use tweezers to pull a tick swiftly out. Avoid the other methods of tick removal, such as a hot match or petroleum jelly. It is okay if the head remains; the Lyme disease toxins are in his body.

If you are bitten by a tick, watch for the symptoms. If you begin to experience them, go to an urgent care location immediately. 

If you are infected with Lyme disease, it is important that you receive an early diagnosis and treatment. Recovery will be faster and better if you catch the disease early on. You may suffer from post-Lyme disease syndrome after Lyme disease treatment. You will experience muscle aches and symptoms related to your nervous system. While most patients get better with time, it is best to try to avoid this lingering effect by preventing and treating Lyme disease immediately.