Ticks & Lyme Disease Prevention
Preventing tick bites is the best way to prevent tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease.
It is important to be extra vigilant during the warm months when ticks are most active and people spend more time outdoors.
Tick and Lyme Disease Facts
- Lyme disease is spread through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick. Only the blacklegged, or deer tick, transmits the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. The Health Department provides a free tick identification service.
- How to remove a tick safely.
- See other types of ticks found in Fairfax County.
7 Ways to Avoid Tick Bites
- Avoid direct contact with ticks. Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter and walk in the center of trails. Learn how to maintain a tick-free yard.
- Use a repellent containing DEET. Repellents with DEET can be applied to exposed skin to help repel ticks. Follow the label instructions.
- Wear long, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Tuck your pants into your socks and your shirt into your pants so ticks don't have easy access to your skin. It's easier to see ticks when they are crawling on light-colored clothes.
- Use permethrin on clothing. Permethrin kills ticks and there are formulations to treat your clothes sold at sporting goods stores. Follow the instructions on the label.
- Check for ticks. While outside, take breaks to check yourself for ticks. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you. Do a thorough check at the end of the day; use a mirror or have someone help you check the hard-to-see places on your body.
- Promptly remove any attached ticks. Don't panic if you find an attached tick. Learn how to remove ticks properly.
- Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine animals, coats and backpacks.
More prevention tips: Download our free reference guide.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
It’s important to know the symptoms of Lyme disease so you can seek early treatment when necessary. Symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- A bull’s-eye rash. (Not every person infected with the Lyme disease bacteria gets this rash.)
- Achy muscles and joints
If you think you have Lyme disease or are concerned that you may have contracted a tick-borne illness, consult your physician as soon as possible.