By wearing the right clothing and avoiding risky areas, you can promote your own safety.
The warm weather is moving in and with it, the threat of Lyme disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year about 300,000 people in the U.S are diagnosed with the illness.
Over 96% of cases are reported in 14 states across the Northeast and Upper Midwest, with the highest incidence found in CT, Washington DC, DE, MD, NH, NJ, RI, VT, MN, WI, PA, ME, MY, MA, PA, WV and VA (check out this map).
In Canada, click here for at-risk areas.
How can you protect yourself?
There was a vaccine at one time, but it’s no longer available due to insufficient consumer demand, the CDC states. If you got the vaccine in the past, ie before 2002, authorities say you’re likely no longer protected against the disease as the vaccine diminishes over time.
Take proactive, preventive steps. Walk in the center of trails and avoid bushy areas, high grass and leaf litter. Ticks love to live in these areas.
Treat your clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% (Click here for a diagram). This includes boots and camping gear.
Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. (Don’t use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old, adn avoid putting products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old).
Apart from that, check your clothing and gear for ticks, and remove them. Tumble dry your clothes, and always wash them in hot water. Cooler water won’t kill ticks.
Last but not least, shower after you come inside, and do a full-body tick check after spending time outside. (Click here for a diagram).
Enjoy your summer, and stay safe.