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    Understanding Lyme Disease -- Prevention

    How Can I Prevent Lyme Disease?

    Tips for preventing Lyme disease include the following:

    • Because infection does not occur until a tick has been attached for at least 24 hours, a thorough daily tick check can be an effective first-line defense.
    • Be aware that the ticks are very small, although they are larger when engorged with blood.
    • If you spend time outdoors in areas inhabited by deer ticks, wear shoes, long pants tucked into socks or pant legs, and long sleeves.
    • Use insect repellent with 20%-30% DEET around your ankles, other areas of exposed skin, and clothes. Follow directions carefully.
    • If you work or walk in brushy areas or woods, check regularly for ticks; they are easier to see against light clothing. Check especially around the armpits, groin, scalp, belt line, neck and head. Check pets often, as well.
    • If possible, avoid tick-infested areas, particularly in May, June, and July.
    • If you're in tick-infested areas, walk in the center of trails to avoid overgrown grass and leaf litter.
    • If you do find a deer tick on your skin, remove it immediately.

     

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    Understanding Lyme Disease -- Symptoms

    The first sign of Lyme disease is usually a bull's-eyerash that begins from 3 to 30 days after the bite. This circular rash expands to several inches or more in diameter before disappearing after a few weeks. Be aware, however, that there's not always a rash, or the rash may look different than a bull's-eye shape. Other early symptoms -- with or without the rash -- may be flu-like feelings of fatigue, headache, fever, sore throat, chills, or body aches. You may also have vague pains in the...

    Read the Understanding Lyme Disease -- Symptoms article > >

    How to Remove a Deer Tick Safely

    • With tweezers, grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible, pulling gently and steadily.
    • Be patient trying to remove the tick. Ticks secrete a special substance that "cements" them to your skin.
    • Save the tick for identification, if possible. Wash the bite with soap and water.
    • If the tick's mouth parts remain embedded in your skin, make sure to remove them.
    • Don't attempt to burn a tick with a lit match or use other products (like petroleum jelly) on the tick.

    Should I Take Antibiotics?

    If you have been bitten by a tick, call your health care provider. Antibiotics may be given to prevent Lyme disease. However, antibiotics are usually only given when the tick has been identified as a deer tick, has been attached for at least 36 hours and you have been in a region where there is a high risk of contracting Lyme disease.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on March 22, 2015

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