Reducing exposure to ticks is an important defense against Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and other tick-borne infections.
Although there was once a vaccine for Lyme disease, it is no longer available. So if you received the Lyme disease vaccine before 2002, you are probably no longer protected as its effect diminishes over time.
While it’s a good idea to take preventative measures against ticks year-round, be extra vigilant during the warmer months (April – September) when ticks are most active. During these months try to avoid direct contact with ticks by:
- Staying away from wooded and bushy areas that contain high grasses and leaf litter
- Always walk in the center of trails that have been used by other walkers
You can gain further protection by using repellents that contain 20 to 30% DEET on exposed skin and clothing. Always follow product instructions when applying. Products that contain permethrin can be used to treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents, and will remain protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is also available at certain outdoor stores and will remain protective for up to 70 washings. More information on tick repellents can be found at this Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website: http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/.
By Maria Fahey, RN
Manager of Infection Control