Understanding Lyme Disease -- Prevention

How Can I Prevent Lyme Disease?

  • Avoid tick-infested areas, particularly in May, June, and July.
  • Wear shoes, long pants tucked into socks or pant legs, and long sleeves when outside in areas where there are deer ticks.
  • Use insect repellent with 20%-30% DEET around your ankles, other areas of bare skin, and clothes.
  • Check for ticks, especially around the armpits, groin, scalp, belt line, neck and head after being in areas where there may be ticks.
  • Remove deer ticks on your skin as soon as you see them.

How to Remove a Deer Tick Safely

To remove a tick safely:   

  • With tweezers, grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible. Pull gently and steadily.
  • Be patient. Ticks can "cement" to your skin. 
  • Save the tick for identification, if possible. Wash the bite with soap and water.  
  • Don't try 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 Minesh Khatri, MD on July 30, 2019

Sources

SOURCES: 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). UpToDate.

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