Protecting yourself from ticks is the first step in Lyme disease prevention. Follow these tips to prevent them from latching on to you.
1. Wear light-colored long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when walking through woods, tall grass, ground cover, or beach areas. For even better protection, tuck your pants into your socks and your shirt into your pants.
2. Consider using an EPA-approved tick repellent. (Wash it off at home after your outing.) Special outdoor clothing lines (including designs by Tommy Hilfiger) pretreated with permethrin are now available.
3. Check your skin (even covered areas) for ticks after an outing.
4. Promptly remove any ticks you find. Wear gloves and use a tick puller (such as the tool made by Ticked Off of Dover, NH; 800-642-2485, 603-742-0925; tickedoff.com) or fine-point precision tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible, pull it straight out (don’t crush it or puncture it), and dispose of it in a vial of rubbing alcohol. Swab the bite and your tool with antiseptic.
5. Consult your physician immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms: bull’s-eye or expanding solid rash, swollen or painful joints, swollen glands, headache, fever, chills, sore throat, stiff neck, numbness or tingling in arms or legs, abnormal vision, abnormal pulse, facial paralysis, or severe fatigue.