Scientists Predict Record Year For Ticks: How To Protect Yourself From Lyme Disease

Experts are expecting this year to experience a particularly bad tick season. Though not all ticks carry the same diseases, here are a few pointers to remember in order to protect yourself and your loved ones from Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases such as the more dangerous Powassan virus.

A Particularly Bad Tick Season

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is adamant in preventing the cases of tick-borne diseases every year. Though the CDC finds that predicting how tick season will be, some experts believe that 2017 will experience an especially bad tick season due to a number of factors including the rise in mice population which in turn increase the population of ticks as well.

Though some experts disagree on the extent of this year’s tick season will be like, what they do agree on is that people should take extra precautions when it comes to preventing tick-borne diseases.

Protecting Yourself From Tick-Borne Diseases

Now that summer is approaching, more people will likely engage in outdoor activities. As such, the CDC recommends avoiding areas with high grass as well as leaf litter when walking along trails. The use of insect repellents containing over 20 percent DEET is also recommended. Wearing clothing gear such as boots, pants, and those that has been pre-treated with permethrin — an insecticide — would also prevent tick bites.

When coming home from the outdoors, check your clothing for any ticks. Clothes should be tumble dried on high heat for 10 minutes. Damp clothes may require more time in the dryer.

Showering within two hours after coming home also reduces the risks of tick-bites as it washes off any stray ticks and gives you a chance to do a tick check. Important body parts to check for ticks are the underarms, in and around the ears, back of the knees, bellybutton, around the waist, in and around the hair, and between the legs.

Any tick found should be removed immediately, and you must watch for signs of illnesses in the days and weeks that follow.

Keeping the surroundings clean is also important, so stacking wood neatly in dry areas and keeping yard equipment such as playground equipment and patio sets away from trees and in a sunny location is also ideal.

Who Are At Risk For Tick-Borne Diseases?

Certain diseases occur in some states more often than others, but ticks can actually be found everywhere including homes, offices and play areas. In the case of Lyme disease, the CDC says that the states that are more risk are the ones in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and upper Midwest, with lower risks along the west coast.

Other lesser known tick-borne diseases such as babesiosis and anaplasmosis occur in the same states as Lyme disease, while Rocky Mountain spotted fever mainly occurs in the states of Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Oklahoma.

The CDC also states that the range of disease-carrying ticks is expanding, so careful prevention is really important in avoiding tick-borne diseases.

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