How Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented?Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 11:07
The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to:
- Take protective measures to avoid tick bites
- Reduce the number of deer in and around your property
- Remove a tick from the skin promptly
- About the Lyme Disease vaccine
Avoiding wooded or grassy areas, especially between May and August, is one way to prevent getting bitten by ticks. But many people live or work in such areas, or enjoy outdoor recreation. To help prevent tick bites:
- Wear protective clothing such as hats, long sleeves, and long pants tucked into socks or boots. Light-colored clothing allows ticks to be spotted more easily.
- Apply tick repellant containing DEET on exposed skin (except on the face, and also avoid putting the repellant on the hands of young children), or treat clothing with permethrin, which kills ticks.
- Keep to the center of trails, avoiding grasses and brush.
- Inspect clothing often while outdoors, and have a companion inspect your back. Inspect children at least daily, and every few hours in heavily infested areas.
- Shower and check your body carefully for ticks after outdoor activities, especially the groin, navel, armpits, head, and behind knees and ears. Have someone check your back, or use a mirror.
- Wash clothes and put them in the dryer for at least 30 minutes to kill any remaining ticks.
- Keep lawn mown and brush cut back. Avoid plantings attractive to deer and other animals. Limit watering of lawn. In some areas, careful use of environmental insecticides may be advisable.
- Keep domestic animals out of tick-infested areas, check them for ticks, and use tick-control products as recommended by your veterinarian.
- People living in Lyme Disease areas should consider lobbying their town or state legislators to reduce the deer herd to less than 8 per square mile so that the tick's life cycle is interrupted. Interrupting the tickâ€™s life cycle is the way to prevent and eventually eradicate Lyme disease. The aim would be to go back to the pre-Lyme era when there were very few deer in the community.
- Take part in a town-wide plan to reduce deer numbers in your area
- Avoid attracting deer with unprotected plantings or bird feeders
For more information go to www.deeralliance.com the Fairfield County Municipal Deer Management Alliance, a group of 13 towns in Connecticut trying to advocate for more responsible deer herd management so that Lyme can become a disease of the past.
How To Information:
How to Handle a Tick Bite
Finding a tick on your body doesn't necessarily mean you will get Lyme disease. Keep in mind that:
It is important to remove an attached tick as soon as possible. To remove a tick:
In 1998 the FDA approved a vaccine for Lyme disease, called LYMErix, for people ages 15 to 70, but it was withdrawn from the market in 2002, due to lack of commercial success and pressure from Lyme advocacy groups. A vaccine is still available for animals. It is possible the vaccine could be re-introduced if there was a significant demand for its return. Those that had the vaccine were mostly pleased with it. It had an efficacy of 76%.
Like most vaccines, LYMErix causes the body to produce
The FDA emphasized at the time that the LYMErix vaccine is not 100 percent effective, and it shouldn't be used as a substitute for other measures such as protective clothing or tick repellent. It required three injections over a period of a year. It is not known how long protection against Lyme disease lasts after vaccination.
There was some concern at the possibility of a small chance of
Of the 600,000 people who received the LYMErix vaccine the first year it was available, 29 reported experiencing chronic arthritis. However, in some cases this might not have been a reaction to the vaccine, but rather a failure of the vaccine; that is, a symptom of an actual Lyme disease infection.
Nice To Know:
Protecting Your Pets
Household pets can get Lyme disease too. In animals, the typical symptoms include joint soreness and lameness, fever, and loss of appetite.
Three Lyme disease vaccines are available for dogs - LymeVax, Galaxy Lyme, and Canine Recombinant Lyme. Healthy dogs can be vaccinated when they are nine weeks or older. There is no vaccine currently available for cats.
Checking pets for all types of ticks before letting them come into the house will reduce the risk of infection for both pet and owner.