Lyme Disease Prevention
Popular strategies for preventing Lyme disease include avoiding areas with lots of ticks, being on the lookout for ticks on your skin or clothing, using pesticides, and creating tick-free zones. Other prevention techniques can include controlling deer populations or using bait boxes to kill ticks on small rodents.
There are some simple measures to prevent tick bites. For example:
- Avoid areas with a lot of ticks
- Keep ticks off your skin
- Apply pesticides to control ticks
- Create a tick-safe zone
- Discourage deer
- Learn about and use other new tick prevention tools.
Avoid Areas With a Lot of Ticks
Ticks prefer wooded and bushy areas with high grass and a lot of leaf litter, so be sure to avoid these areas. Take extra precautions in May, June, and July. During these months, the ticks that transmit Lyme disease are most active.
Ask your local health department and park or extension service about tick-infested areas to avoid. If you do happen to enter a tick area, walk in the center of the trail to avoid contact with overgrown grass, brush, and leaf litter.
Keep Ticks Off Your Skin
As part of your prevention plan, use insect repellent with 20-30 percent DEET on adult skin and clothing to prevent tick bites. Effective repellents for ticks and Lyme disease prevention can be found in drug, grocery, and discount stores.
Permethrin is another type of repellent. It can be purchased at outdoor equipment stores that carry camping or hunting gear. Permethrin kills ticks on contact. A single application to pants, socks, and shoes typically stays effective through several washings. Permethrin should not be applied directly to skin.
To keep ticks off your skin, wear long pants, long sleeves, and long socks. Light-colored clothing will help you spot ticks more easily. Tucking pant legs into your socks or boots and tucking shirts into pants help keep ticks on the outside of your clothing. If you'll be outside for an extended period of time, tape the area where your pants and socks meet to prevent ticks from crawling under your clothes.