B stands for bathing soon after spending time outdoors. A recent study showed that people who bathed or showered within 2 hours of coming indoors did not contract Lyme disease as frequently as those who did not bathe or shower soon.
L reminds everyone to look their bodies over for ticks daily and remove them properly. Speedy removal helps avoid disease transmission. Remove ticks carefully by their mouth parts with a tweezer and save them in a plastic bag for identification. Contact your local health department for tick-testing policies and notify your physician if you have any concerns. “L” also reminds use to look for expanding rashes and reported them to your physician in a timely manner. The painless erythema migrans (EM) rash sometimes seen with Lyme disease can often go unnoticed and will eventually disappear while the infection remains. Other early symptoms include fatigue, headache, fever and achy muscles and joints.
A encourages you to become educated about repellants and apply them appropriately. Studies have shown that applying 30-40% DEET-based repellant to skin is effective at repelling blacklegged (deer) ticks. Application of 0.5% permethrin-based insecticide to clothing is highly effective at repelling and even killing ticks. Clothing treated with permethrin can be washed several times and still retains its repellant properties. The use of repellants, while proven effective is a personal decision. For more information on tick repellants, visit the National Pesticide Information Center's website.
S stands for spraying the yard to reduce tick abundance. Homeowners should consider the benefits of applying pesticide to the perimeter of their yards. Studies have shown that even one application of pesticide at the right time of year and in the best location can reduce blacklegged tick populations by 85 – 90%. Complete information on tick management is available at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station website.
T reminds everyone to treat your pets. Local veterinarians offer a variety of methods for protecting animals from tick-borne diseases. Dogs and cats increase one’s chances of exposure to Tick-Borne Disease. Pets can carry ticks in to the home on their fur. Pet owners should be cautious about sleeping with their pets.
For additional information on the BLAST Lyme & Tick-Borne Disease Prevention Program, contact Blastlyme@ridgefieldct.org or phone 203-431-7006.
Make everyone in the family a Lyme fighter this year. BLAST Tick-Borne Disease.