11 Ways to Lower Your Risk for Lyme

Protect Yourself Against Lyme Disease: 7 Tips

Photo courtesy of lymediseaseguide.net.

In my last post, I shared my daughter’s story and tips to help you catch Lyme disease early. But how can we protect ourselves from getting it in the first place? Studies show at least 20% of people with Lyme disease don’t remember a rash, and the number could be as high as 73%.

And, unfortunately, the other symptoms can mimic everything from the flu to rheumatoid arthritis. Many with Lyme have been misdiagnosed with depression, multiple sclerosis, or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease by Lyme BlueSo how can we decrease our chances of getting this debilitating disease? I wish I could tell you the tips are easy, but for busy moms and nature-lovers like me, they certainly aren’t. However, they might just prevent our minds and bodies from giving out on us before their time.

So here they are! The more we do, and the more often we do them, the more we’ll lower our risk of getting Lyme disease.

When hiking, playing outdoors, or doing yard work from the spring through the fall, take the following precautions:

Wear hats, long-sleeved shirts, and pants tucked into socks. (Lighter-colored clothing is best, because it makes it easier to see the ticks.)

Size of Blacklegged Ticks: Nymph, Adult, and Larva

Photo courtesy of cdc.gov.

• Wear shoes—no flip-flops, sandals, or bare feet—and spray them with permethrin every six weeks. (This tip is one of the easier ones, but it’s been shown to have a big impact.)

Pre-treat your clothes with permethrin and use EPA-approved insect repellent on your body. (Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or lemon eucalyptus oil are most effective.)

Walk in the center of trails to avoid brush, tall grass, and leaf litter.

Don’t sit on logs or lean against trees.

Tick Hotspots: Where to Check for Ticks

Photo courtesy of hikeitbaby.com.

• After being outdoors, check yourself and your children for ticks. Don’t forget hidden places like the underwear area and scalps, armpits, and belly buttons.

Bathe or shower within two hours of coming inside.

Toss your clothes in a dryer for 5-10 minutes to kill any ticks that may have traveled inside with you.

Plan ahead:

Avoid tick-infested areas from May through July when the nymphs are feeding. (Nymphs are the main disease-carrying stage of the deer tick.)

Deer Ticks Life Cycle and Risk of Infection

Photo courtesy of cdc.gov.

• If you live in a high-risk area, hire a professional to spray for ticks between mid-May and early June.

Discourage deer from coming into your yard through building fences and removing plants they enjoy eating.

Photo courtesy of bugspray.com.

Those are the best tips I’ve found for preventing this debilitating disease. I don’t expect us to do all of them, but every one we do will help lower our risk of getting Lyme. 

For more information about Lyme disease, read “Lyme Disease! What It Is & Why You Should Care.”

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2 thoughts on “11 Ways to Lower Your Risk for Lyme

  1. There are chemicals that you can spread in your yard, the way you fertilize your lawn. In high tick areas you will find these chemicals in stock in your typical hardware stores.

    You didn’t discuss your pets. This topic is a must. My dog got Lyme disease. The typical tick and flea preventative will not stop deer ticks from biting and giving your pets Lyme. I have a great Vet who prescribed an additional pill that I give my dog every three months. The ticks may walk on her fur, but they won’t bite her.

    When my dog tested positive for Lyme from a blood test, my Vet told me to go and get a test myself. At that point I didn’t have symptoms, but a week or two later I did. I wish they had the tick preventative pill for people; but they don’t. I have had Lyme twice. I realized after the second time that I was getting bitten by ticks because they were walking off of her and onto me. I sleep with my dog and so I have now had 8 bites. I have found ticks walking around in various parts of my house because they have come in on her fur.
    A lot of rain in the Spring seems to produce a lot more ticks.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, Beverly! 🙂 The information you shared is very helpful. Because of your comment, I added an upcoming post on my new Lyme-centered website, OurLymeJourney.com. The blog is tentatively titled “Lyme Disease: Protecting Your Pets (And Yourself!).” By the way, what’s the name of the pill you give your dog every three months and where do you get it? I am so sorry to hear you’ve had Lyme twice. 🙁 I’ve battled the disease too, and it can be very debilitating. I hope you caught it early both times. Thank you for bringing up the chemicals you can spread in your yard to prevent ticks. This past year, I spread Sevin in our yard a few times. In the longer, more thorough and up-to-date e-book version of “Eleven Ways to Lower Your Risk for Lyme,” I shared that tip. You can get that free book by following this link: https://ourlymejourney.us4.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=d272f83908870252e5f688be8&id=6534ccf433

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