The best protection against Lyme Disease is to not get bitten.This includes knowing how to protect your skin and clothing to repel ticks, how to properly scan for ticks that have latched on, and how to remove a tick. Time is of the essence when it comes to removing a tick you find on the skin–yours or a pet. If removed promptly, there is a significantly reduced likelihood that the tick can transmit the infection.
Protect Yourself From Tick Bites
- Wear clothing that covers the limbs during hikes, gardening, time spent in parks, etc. Light-colored clothing makes it easier to spot ticks.
- Treat clothing and gear with tick repellants. There are many types of repellents that are recommended by the EPA and CDC. Your holistic healthcare provider can guide you on which repellent product might be best for you, especially if you have a skin condition that might be aggravated by chemicals in repellants and would prefer a more natural product. You will want to apply repellant properly to yourself and children.
- Walk in the center of trails and walkways in wooded areas.
- Watch for signs that indicate high tick activity such as an overabundance of deer and reconsider your activities in light of that information.
- Check yourself, children, gear, and pets after spending time outdoors. Thoroughly check the skin around the ears, neck, scalp, underarms, waist and belly button, back of knees, and the ankles. If you had sandals on, check the top and bottom of the feet and between the toes. Be sure to have a family member help with areas you can’t see or reach.
- Check children who are too young to thoroughly check themselves.
- Shower within 2 hours of returning home, after checking for ticks.
- Wash and dry clothing used outdoors in hot water and high heat.
What To Do If a Tick is Attached to Your Skin
First, don’t follow any gimmicks or urban legends about removing a tick such as putting nail polish or a recently lit match on the tick. The best way to learn how to remove a tick is to see it being done properly. The Tick Bite Bot walks you through removal of a tick from the skin. Your healthcare practitioner may want to have the tick tested. After you have removed it, you can save it in a jar. Tick Report is a place you can send the tick to have it tested. Whether the tick is tested or not, it’s important to remove the tick immediately, treat and monitor the area, and follow-up with your holistic healthcare practitioner.
For an overview of tick repellants visit: Using Insect and Tick Repellants Safely