PROTECT against tick bites
Avoid areas where ticks live.
- Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
- Walk in the center of trails.
- Take extra precautions in spring, summer and fall when ticks are most active.
- When possible, avoid walking in tall grass and weeds.
- Conduct visual "tick CHECKS" on yourself and children every hour or two.
- CHECK pets for ticks before allowing them into the home.
- Carefully remove attached ticks as soon as possible.
- Keep yard and play areas well mowed to discourage ticks.
Use tick repellents.
- Use insect repellents registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) labeled for use against ticks on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours. Always follow the product label. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding their hands, eyes, and mouth.
- Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks, and tents with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin or 20-30% DEET repellent. It remains protective through several washings. Always follow the product label. Pre-treated clothing is available and may provide longer lasting protection.
Cover up to keep ticks off your body.
- Wear long pants, long sleeves, and long socks.
- Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and tuck shirts into pants to keep ticks on the outside of your clothing. Spray pant legs and socks with insect repellent.
- Light-colored clothing will help you spot ticks more easily.
The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites.
If you find a tick on your body, REMOVE it quickly to reduce the risk of contracting Lyme disease. See a healthcare provider if you do get sick. Lyme disease is curable. Early diagnosis and treatment are important in order to avoid further health problems related to Lyme disease.
WATCH for the Symptoms of Lime Disease
Early symptoms of Lyme disease typically begin three to 30 days after a tick bite and can include:
- Erythema migrans rash ("bull's eye" rash)
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
Many of these symptoms are not specific to Lyme disease and can be caused by a variety of different factors. However, the erythema migrans (EM) rash is often characteristic of Lyme disease. This is a rash that often begins at the site of the tick bite and gradually expands. The center of the rash may clear as it enlarges, giving it the appearance of a bull's eye or target. The rash usually appears within seven to 14 days after the tick bite. The rash may be warm, but it is usually not painful or itchy. See photos of what an EM rash looks like on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s website.
While the EM rash is commonly associated with Lyme disease, not everyone infected with Lyme bacteria will develop a rash. About 30 percent of confirmed cases of Lyme disease reported to the CDC do not have an EM rash at the time of their diagnosis. These cases report joint pain and/or joint swelling at the time of their diagnosis more frequently than cases with an EM rash. For more information, see CDC's Lyme disease signs and symptoms.