Ticks & Lyme Disease Prevention

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month.

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

7 Ways to Avoid Tick Bites

  1. Minimize 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.
  2. Bottle of DEET with capeUse a repellent containing DEET. Repellents with DEET can be applied to exposed skin and clothing to help repel ticks. Follow the label instructions.
  3. 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.
  4. Use permethrin on clothing. Clothng can be treated with Permethrin, an insecticide that repels and kills ticks. It can be purchased from the outdoors section of several retailers. Follow the label instructions.
  5. Do a tick check. 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.
  6. Promptly remove attached ticks. Don't panic if you find an attached tick. Learn how to remove ticks properly.
  7. 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.
  8. Apply pesticide. Consider using presticides to control ticks on your property. Follow the label insructions and be sure the products that you choose states that it controls ticks.

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, as pictured here, is a sign that you have been infected with Lyme disease. A bull’s-eye rash. (Not every person infected with the Lyme disease bacteria gets this rash.)
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Achy muscles and joints
  • Fatigue

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.

Learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More Information

Contact Us

More Resources

Videos from the Virginia Department of Health:

Tick Free Summer: Prevention

Tick Free Summer: How to Check for Ticks

Tick Free Summer: When to Go to the Doctor

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