How to Stay Protected from Lyme Disease During Tick Season: Be Tick AWARE
Spending extra time outdoors this summer means more exercise, sunshine, fun activities, vacations and weekend getaways…and a greater exposure to ticks and other biting insects. While ticks are a year-round problem, they become more active and prevalent in the warmer months, especially in the high-intensity tick regions such as New England, the South East, and Southern states.
The more ticks there are, the higher the risk for Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. Whether you enjoy summer outdoors at your favorite campsite, fishing at the pond with the tall grass, or hiking through the woods, you should always be extra careful and know the risks.
What are the risks?
Each year 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to the CDC, but this number does not reflect the number of people who are diagnosed. It’s estimated that 10-20% of Lyme disease cases go unresolved for longer than 24 months.
During the summer months, approximately 5,000 people per week are infected with Lyme disease or similar tick-borne diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, anaplasmosis, and Powassan virus.
Only you can decrease the risk of becoming one of the victims of tick-borne diseases by staying protected and remaining tick AWARE – not just during the summer, but all year long. The Be Tick AWARE prevention program is a tool created by the Global Lyme Alliance:
AVOID areas where ticks live.
WEAR light-colored clothing: long pants, sleeves, socks, and closed-toe shoes.
APPLY EPA-approved tick repellent to skin, clothing, and shoes.
REMOVE clothing upon entering your home and toss clothes in the dryer at a high temperature to kill any ticks.
EXAMINE yourself, your loved ones, and your pets for ticks daily.
Being tick AWARE also means being aware of the risks, aware of what ticks can look like, and aware of how to treat bites to prevent contraction of illnesses. Our tick travel guide is a great review of what the common tick species look like and where they can be found. These species include: Blacklegged or Deer tick, Lone Star tick, American Dog tick, Brown Dog tick, Groundhog tick, Rocky Mountain Wood tick, and Soft tick.
Even if you take all of the precautions to avoid ticks, there is still a chance of being bitten. That’s why it’s essential to check not only yourself, but also your friends, family, and even your pets, on a daily basis. Ticks on pets will often go unnoticed, especially once burrowed under their long hair, in their paws, ears, or mouth, or on their underside. Pets can also be infected by Lyme disease, which can be fatal. They can also carry ticks into areas that otherwise wouldn’t have ticks, like inside your home, which can increase your family’s risk for tick bites and contracting tick-borne illnesses.
If you find a tick on your skin, clothes, or pets, closely follow the instructions in our article, “I Found a Tick On Me… Now What?” for the best way to remove a tick and how to have the tick properly tested. Often tick bites can go unnoticed until you start experiencing symptoms, so it’s important to always get ticks tested regardless of when it is found.
The first step to Lyme disease protection is to always properly apply a trusted and effective tick repellent. Ranger Ready picaridin insect repellent offers a full 12 hours of protection against ticks and mosquitos, is safe for kids over the age of 1, and is safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding, making it the best tick repellent the whole family can use.