For the past several months, you have been implementing tactics that protect you from getting a virus, the Coronavirus. You wear a mask each time you leave your home to get groceries or other necessities. You are washing your hands more and cleaning the surfaces inside your home.
You are taking measures like this because you must continue living and taking care of yourself and your family, even during a pandemic.
The same is true for outdoor summer plans. Don’t give up making fun memories because you are fearful of a disease.
Many people fear getting Lyme disease and avoid the outdoors altogether. But it does not have to be this way. Whether it’s hiking, swimming, suntanning, or sipping a cold one on your back porch, you can do it without worrying about tick bites and Lyme disease.
The key? Protect yourself.
Below are tips on how to prevent Lyme disease while enjoying your outdoor summer plans.
Understand Deer Ticks
If you know nothing about deer ticks, the tiny bugs that carry the Lyme causing bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, it makes sense you may fear all of the outdoors.
That old saying, knowledge is power, holds true with preventing Lyme disease. The more you know, the better prepared you can be.
Learn what you can about tick-borne diseases. For example, know that ticks do not fall out of trees or off branches. They live on the ground in brushy spots. They not only live on the ground, but they also breed, hatch eggs, and go through several life stages on the tips of grass blades and other brush.
Therefore, your body’s first area to protect in the outdoors should be your feet and legs if you are walking places. If you like to take naps on the ground, or frolic, protecting your whole body is a good idea.
It’s also essential to understand deer ticks can carry more than one bacteria that can lead to co-infections that accompany Lyme disease. Deer ticks do not die in the winter months; they go dormant. In warmer winters, ticks can remain active.
Furthermore, the ground is not the only place to pick up a deer tick. They can transfer from animals to humans. So, protect your pets too.
What to Wear
If you had to wear full-body armor to go out and mow the yard or to have a barbecue with friends, you probably wouldn’t find that too enjoyable. The good news is that protecting yourself from ticks does not require head-to-toe clothing.
Evaluate the outdoor location, then determine the type of protective clothing you need. If you plan to go hiking in tall grass or heavily forested area, you will need more than flip flops and your favorite cutoff shorts.
The more dense the environment, the more protection you may need to prevent Lyme. Choose shoes and pants that will cover the parts of your body exposed to grassy, thick brush.
Use the Spray
Today, many people are worried about putting toxic chemicals on their bodies. This is not a bad worry to have. However, to prevent Lyme disease, which is far worse than any chemical exposure, you need to take advantage of tick repellants’ powers.
You can spray lightly on your skin’s surface, then heavy on your clothing. Repellants help deter ticks, so finding a way to benefit from them will protect you better than if you did not use the spray.
Check Yourself Often
The deer ticks that carry Lyme disease are small. They can resemble a mole or freckle on your body. As soon as you come in from the outdoors, you must give yourself a full-body check.
To check yourself properly, use your eyes and your sense of touch. Sometimes it will be easy to spot a tick. You may feel or see it moving. Other times it can be more difficult. If you have a lot of moles or freckles, use your hands to feel the area to ensure you are not mistaking one for a tick.
Also, check all your two-thousand body parts. Ticks can disappear into exterior private places, and you may not notice them until it’s too late.
Taking a shower as soon as you return from the outdoors is a great way to get rid of funky smells. It also gives you a great chance to check all your body parts.
Shower can help flush ticks off your body if they are not attached to your skin yet. Ticks can blend in well with dirt and debris you may have picked up while outdoors. Water from the shower will wash off the debris, and if a tick is attached, you will be able to notice it right away.
Don’t Forget Your Pets
Checking your pets for ticks is essential when preventing Lyme disease. Let’s say you do a perfect job at showering and checking yourself. Later, while watching your favorite television show on your sofa, you notice a tick on your calf.
You did all the right things. How did a tick manage to get on your leg?
It hits you; you forgot to check your dog, who is now lying on your lap, for ticks after being outside.
There are pet-friendly, natural remedies you can apply to your pets that can prevent ticks from attaching to your pet’s fur. There are also more robust chemical applications that work and usually only need to be applied once a month.
Not only can a tick attach to your pet, then transfer from your pet to your body, it can also infect your pet with Lyme disease. Pets with Lyme feel tremendous pain, fatigue, and inflammation, just like humans.
You don’t have to be stuck inside this summer. You can make plans for and enjoy the outdoors. The benefits of being outside are plentiful. Now that you know how to prevent Lyme disease, what will be your first outdoor activity?