Working in the yard, taking a walk in the woods or performing any other outdoor activity may put you at risk of Lyme Disease, especially if you live in the New England, Mid-Atlantic, East North-Central, South Atlantic, and West North-Central States of the United States. However, using insect repellent reduces this risk.
Lyme disease (borreliosis) is a tick borne infectious disease caused by a spiral shaped bacterium. This disease is transmitted to humans by the black legged tick.
Typically, the first symptom of Lyme disease is a red rash that starts as a small red spot at the site of the tick bite. This spot expands over time, forming a circular or oval shaped rash.
As this infection spreads, rashes can appear at different sites on the body that are often accompanied by:
Other health issue include:
So what’s an outdoor enthusiast to do? Reduce your risk by covering up, and those parts not covered, spray with insect repellent.
Use a repellent with 20% – 30% DEET and Permethrin for clothing. Repellents containing a higher concentration (higher percentage) of active ingredient typically provide longer-lasting protection.
Some additional risk reducers include:
- Walk in the center of the trail.
- Ask locals about tick infested areas to avoid.
- Tape the area where your pants and socks meet.
- Light-colored clothing will help you spot ticks more easily.
- Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and your shirt into your pants
- Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and a lot of leaf litter.
If a tick is attached to your skin for less than 24 hours, your chance of getting Lyme disease is extremely small. But just to be safe, monitor your health closely after a tick bite and be alert for any signs or symptoms of illness.
Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics, so see your doctor right away to get it out of your system.