LYME DISEASE PREVENTION
It is extremely important to take appropriate measures to protect against tick-borne illnesses. Prevention strategies include repellants, tick checks, proper tick removal, yard care, pet prevention and an ability to recognize the symptoms of tick-borne diseases. If there is one thing everyone can agree on when it comes to Lyme disease it is that it is best to prevent disease than to become ill.
Tick bites are painless. It is possible to get bitten by a tick any season of the year, and many people are infected in their own backyards. Several different repellants can be used to deter ticks. See the articles through our "prevention links" page for repellant recommendations (ie. DEET, permethrin) and other tips.
Regardless of the use of repellants, there is no guarantee and nothing beats a thorough tick check. Tick checks should be done after any outdoor activities. Thoroughly check the entire body including in the hair, behind the ears, behind the knees, underarms, etc. Also check pets for ticks. When it comes to tick checks, it is important to be vigilant.
If a tick becomes attached, the proper way to remove it is with fine point tweezers. Using the tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible, pull the tick straight back. Do NOT use any substances on the tick. Substances cause the tick to back out on its own which increases the likelihood of it transmitting the infection.
Treatment of tick-bites is an individual decision and must be determined on a case-by-case basis. Many patients advocate for their friends and family to receive treatment when bitten by a tick, due to the devastating effects of the disease and the fact that the best prevention of chronic disease is aggressive treatment early on. Discuss treatment with your physician, and learn about the illness so you can recognize it.
While appropriate treatment of tick-bites can be very beneficial, Lymeinfo has serious concerns about what is commonly referred to as "the two doxy" approach. This method involves the use of 2 pills right after tick-bite to "prevent" disease. However, LymeInfo's concern is that this treatment has the potential to knock down the germ load while not eradicating the infection, thereby eliminating the early, most recognizable signs of the disease. We can only wonder how many patients are later diagnosed with other illnesses that are really Lyme disease.
Learn to recognize the early signs of disease, and treat as soon as they develop. Treatment is most effective in the early stages of the illness. While some people in the general public have concerns about the use of antibiotics, in the case of Lyme disease the complexity of the organism NECESSITATES antibiotic therapy. Always remember that Lyme is a difficult to eradicate disease that can infect every organ of the body.
Although tick-borne illnesses are primarily transmitted by ticks, there is widening concern about the same infections being transmitted in other ways. There is no human vaccine currently available to protect against Lyme disease.