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Disease Prevention

Tips To Avoid Tick Bites and Detect Lyme Disease


More than 103,000 cases of Lyme disease have been reported in the United States since 1982, according to the centers for disease control, however, many people do not know how to spot the early signs of Lyme disease.

"Although there are treatments for Lyme disease, the best approach is prevention," counsels Dr. Gary Kravitz of United Hospital. "Wear appropriate clothing in potentially infested areas and be sure to check your entire body for ticks as soon as possible. The sooner a tick is removed from your body, the less likely you will be to contract a tick-borne disease."

People are more likely to find ticks on themselves after they have been in a heavily wooded or grassy area, in regions known to have heavy tick populations, or if their job involves working outside.

Allina Health System offers tips on prevention of tick bites and detection of Lyme disease as the result of the Allina VitalSigns Survey of Minnesotans.

Precautions to Avoid Tick Bites:

  • The peak months for contact with ticks are June, July and August — so be on alert during this time.
  • Stay away from wooded areas during tick season.
  • Check yourself for ticks after you have been outside for a considerable length of time.
  • Wear light colored clothing.
  • Use tick repellent with Deet (a colorless oily liquid which is used in insect repellent).
  • Spray clothing with a permethrin spray.
  • Wear extra clothing in wooded areas.

"The early symptoms of Lyme disease include an expanding circular rash, flu-like symptoms and high fever," warns Dr. Kravitz. "And the late effects of the disease can include a relapse of earlier symptoms, joint swelling, neurologic diseases and abnormal slowing of the heart beat."

Copyright 1999 Health Resources Publishing


© 2000 Health Resources Publishing