A shocking major review of available data revealed that more than 14% of the world’s population has had Lyme disease, a tick-borne illness that causes rash and flu-like symptoms, including muscle and joint aches, headache, nausea, and vomiting. While the condition is rarely fatal, Lyme disease can cause long-term health issues such as irregular heartbeat, eye inflammation, hepatitis and severe fatigue, says the Mayo Clinic.
More than 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease are estimated to occur every year in the U.S. That makes Lyme disease the most frequent tick-born infection in North America. The ticks that transmit the disease are deer ticks that are small and difficult to see, say the experts at Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center.
Here are five tips to help prevent tick bites and Lyme disease:
- Keep your lawn well-manicured. Keeping grass short will deter ticks. If you live near a wooded area, create a barrier with wood chips or bark between your lawn and the perimeter bush around the edge of the yard. Since ticks can get Lyme disease from mice, eliminate the mouse habitats from your yard including wood piles and rock piles where mice tend to breed.
- Enjoy the outdoors safety. Stay in the middle of paths when walking or hiking and avoid tall grass and bush. Avoid exposure in wooded, overgrown areas.
- Wear protective clothing. Make sure you and your family wear long sleeves and long pants tucked into socks and shoes when venturing out. Use an insect repellant such as DEET on the body or permethrin on your clothes, says Johns Hopkins. But check with your doctor before using these chemicals on children. DEET must be reapplied every two or three hours in warm weather. When choosing an insect repellent, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends checking with the Environmental Protection Agency for a list of insect repellents that are suitable for your protection. Safeguard your pets against Lyme disease with appropriate products recommended by your veterinarian.
- Shower when you come indoors. After an outing, make sure you check for ticks on skin and clothing and shower daily. Common sites of tick attachment are behind the knees, underarms, navel, groin, and buttocks. The most important thing is to remove the ticks before they have a chance to attach to you and spread disease. Feel for ticks along your head and body and do a visual inspection as well, looking for tiny pinpoint-sized dark specks.
- Remove the ticks by grasping them with a tweezer and pulling them off the skin. According to Johns Hopkins, if some of the mouthparts of the ticks remain in the skin, it’s not serious. The most important thing to remember is that the faster the ticks are removed, the less likely they will spread Lyme disease. Once you have removed the tick, wash the wound site and your hands with soap and water, and apply rubbing alcohol or antiseptic to the site. Keep an eye on the bite site for a couple of weeks for any signs of an expanding red rash or flu-like symptoms and report this to your healthcare provider.
© 2023 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.