To kick off Lyme Disease Awareness Month, below is a guest blog from Scott Santarella, CEO of Global Lyme Alliance
Will good tick bite prevention habits ever be as habitual as wearing sunscreen, putting on a seatbelt, or in today’s climate, physical distancing and hand washing? For your good health, I sure hope so.
We are living in an unprecedented time of making preventative measures the norm, to keep ourselves and our families safe. The COVID-19 pandemic has made staying home, wearing face masks, and washing hands immediate and accepted habits by most people. For relief from the social and physical isolation, many people are seeking refuge outdoors. I personally welcome the escape and ‘normalcy’ that going for a bike ride or walk on the beach brings.
The question, however, is it feasible to think that everyone following COVID-19 safety guidelines will also want to follow tick bite prevention guidelines? I think yes.
A key element of Global Lyme Alliance’s (GLA) mission is tick bite prevention. As CEO of GLA, I see every day the devastating impact that Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses can have on someone, as well as their loved ones. While GLA and the scientists we fund are making great strides in developing an accurate diagnostic test and discovering proven treatment options, the hard reality is that we aren’t there yet. This makes prevention crucial—to stop the disease before it has a chance to take hold.
With an estimated 427,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year, we are all at risk.
GLA officially launched its Be Tick AWARE™ tick bite prevention program in July 2017. The program and messaging is aimed at making it easy to implement good tick bite prevention habits based on the AWARE acronym:
A - Avoid tick habitats
W - Wear light colored clothing
A - Apply EPA-approved tick repellent, such as Ranger Ready
R - Remove clothing upon entering your home
E - Examine yourself and pets for ticks every day
I think one of the keys in making tick bite prevention effective is to make it easy, which is the goal of Be Tick AWARE.
In 2019, GLA officially partnered with Ranger Ready Repellents to help promote the Be Tick AWARE program, with the goal of reaching and protecting more people from tick bite and tick-borne illness. Together we have reached hundreds of thousands of people in the community, at summer camps, through educational outreach, events, public service announcements, videos, press opportunities, and GLA’s team of trained Lyme education ambassadors. I know that together we are making a difference in protecting people from Lyme disease.
My message is that we should enjoy the outdoors, especially now, but it’s crucial to follow a few simple steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones. And better yet, if these steps can become second nature like putting on a seat belt.
GLA is here to help. Please reach out to our team with any questions you may have regarding Lyme disease, from prevention and detection to finding a Lyme-treating physician. And we encourage you to help share the important message of Lyme awareness during May-Lyme Disease Awareness Month.
Stay safe,Scott Santarella
Global Lyme Alliance
Global Lyme Alliance is the leading 501 ©(3) dedicated to conquering Lyme and other tick-borne diseases through research, education, awareness, and patient services. Learn more GLA.org
HOW TO APPLY RANGER READY REPELLENTS