Can I Prevent Lyme Disease
Not all cases of Lyme disease can be prevented. But you can protect yourself from tick bites. If you go into an area where ticks live, be sure to:
- Stay in the middle of the trail instead of going through high grass or the woods.
- Wear closed shoes or boots, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants. Tuck pant legs into shoes or boots to prevent ticks from crawling up legs.
- Use an insect repellent.
- Consider treating your clothing and gear with permethrin to repel ticks.
- Wear light-colored clothing to help you see ticks more easily.
- Shower and wash hair after being outside to remove ticks before they attach.
- Remove any ticks you find right away.
How Long Does A Tick Need To Be Embedded For It To Transmit Disease
The longer a tick is attached, the higher the risk of transmission. Although Lyme disease is not commonly transmitted when ticks are attached for less than 24 hours, the risk of Lyme disease posed by those bites is not zero. There may be other factors that contribute to disease transmission in short duration attachments. In addition, there are other disease-causing bacteria and viruses carried by blacklegged ticks that are known to be transmitted in less than 24 hours.
Early Detection Is Key
Stephen Morse, PhD, an epidemiologist at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, said that the findings were reassuring.
The general wisdom about it was even if you didnt find the tick immediately it would take about 48 hours, to contract Lyme disease, said Morse. This seems to be true here, too.
Morse said the data can help to inform people on how to enjoy the outdoors safely.
He pointed out that in areas with high numbers of ticks, people may need to take precautions even if they just go into their own backyards.
If youve got a nice backyard, use that mosquito repellent or bug repellent, he said.
In addition, there are obviously the usual precautions of dont leave a lot of exposed skin, and be careful if youre climbing the underbrush.
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How To Safely Remove A Tick
Not all ticks carry Lyme disease, and some ticks carry other diseases. To avoid infecting yourself, never crush a tick with your fingers. For more information on the safe removal, disposal and identification of ticks visit CDC.gov/ticks.
Ongoing Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
A few people who are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease continue to have symptoms, like tiredness, aches and loss of energy, that can last for years.
It’s not clear why this happens to some people and not others. This means there’s also no agreed treatment.
Speak to a doctor if your symptoms come back, or do not improve, after treatment with antibiotics.
The doctor may be able to offer you further support if needed, such as:
- referral for a care needs assessment
- telling your employer, school or higher education institution that you require a gradual return to activities
- communicating with children and families’ social care
Page last reviewed: 05 July 2021 Next review due: 05 July 2024
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Treatment Of Erythema Migrans Rash
People treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely. Early diagnosis and proper antibiotic treatment of Lyme disease can help prevent late Lyme disease. Treatment regimens listed in the following table are for the erythema migrans rash, the most common manifestation of early Lyme disease. These regimens may need to be adjusted depending on a persons age, medical history, underlying health conditions, pregnancy status, or allergies. Consult an infectious disease specialist regarding individual patient treatment decisions. For treating other manifestations, see www.cdc.gov/Lyme/treatment.
|30 mg/kg per day orally, divided into 2 doses
|500 mg per dose
*When different durations of antibiotics are shown to be effective for the treatment of Lyme disease, the shorter duration is preferred to minimize adverse effects, including infectious diarrhea and antimicrobial resistance.
NOTE: For people intolerant of amoxicillin, doxycycline, and cefuroxime, the macrolide azithromycin may be used, although it is less effective. People treated with azithromycin should be closely monitored to ensure that symptoms resolve.
What Happens At Your Appointment
The GP will ask about your symptoms and consider any rash or recent tick bites you know about.
Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. It has similar symptoms to other conditions and there’s not always an obvious rash.
2 types of blood test are available to help confirm or rule out Lyme disease. But these tests are not always accurate in the early stages of the disease.
You may need to be retested if you still have Lyme disease symptoms after a negative result.
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How To Remove A Tick From Your Skin
The lists these steps for the proper removal of a tick:
The CDC also advises against using any folklore remedies such as burning off a tick, painting it with nail polish, or applying petroleum jelly to treat a tick bite. Quick, proper removal is the best way to prevent infection.
Is Lyme Disease Treatable
Yes. Lyme disease responds well to antibiotics and is curable.
Most symptoms resolve quickly after the start of antibiotics, however, it can occasionally take weeks or months for all symptoms to completely subside.
The number of days of antibiotics required depends on the symptoms present at the time of diagnosis-a typical course of antibiotics is 2-4 weeks.
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What Do Testing Kits Typically Include
Depending on the method of collection, testing kits may include:
- a device to collect the blood, urine, or saliva sample
- a container to ship the sample back to the lab
- a shipping label
Some kits come with a bandage, wipes, and a biohazard bag. Kits may contain extras such as Styrofoam holders, labels, or tubes with varying solutions inside.
When Do Symptoms Of Lyme Disease Appear
Stage 1: Early Localized Disease
Symptoms with early localized Lyme disease may begin hours, a few days or even weeks after a tick bite. At this point, the
infection has not yet spread throughout the body. Lyme is the easiest to cure at this stage.
Symptoms may include:
Stage 2: Early Disseminated Lyme
Early disseminated Lyme may occur several weeks or months after the tick bite. Bacteria are beginning to spread throughout the body. In addition to flu-like symptoms, this stage is often characterized by increase in symptoms such as:
- pain, weakness or numbness in the arms, legs
- heart problems, such as palpitations, chest pain
- rash may appear on body
- facial paralysis
Stage 3: Late Disseminated Lyme Disease
Many have asked, do you ever get rid of Lyme disease? Can Lyme disease return? If Lyme disease isnt promptly or effectively treated in the first two stages, late disseminated Lyme occurs weeks, months or even years after the tick bite. The Lyme bacteria have spread throughout the body and many patients develop chronic arthritis as well as an increase in neurological and cardiac symptoms. Symptoms may include:
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Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
Most people with Lyme disease get the infection during the late spring, summer and early fall when immature ticks are out feeding. In warm climates, few tick bites take place during winter months.
Deer ticks are most often found in wooded areas and nearby grasslands. Theyre especially common where the two areas merge, including neighborhood yards where deer occasionally roam. Ticks dont survive long on sunny lawns. They dry out quickly and die.
Although only about 1% of all deer ticks carry Lyme disease-causing bacteria, there are areas in which over 50% of the ticks carry the bacterium. The diseased ticks are often found in the U.S. Northeast and upper Midwest areas. Ticks also live in coastal areas.
Black-legged ticks can get the infection from animals other than deer. Mice, voles and some squirrels can carry the bacteria.
How can I prevent tick bites?
The following tips can help you avoid tick bites:
What To Do After A Tick Bite
Dont wait to remove it. Follow these steps as soon as you notice a tick:
For more information check out the resources below or discuss with your doctor.
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Lyme Disease Prophylaxis After Tick Bite
In areas that are highly endemic for Lyme disease, a single prophylactic dose of doxycycline may be used to reduce the risk of acquiring Lyme disease after a high-risk tick bite.
Benefits of prophylaxis may outweigh risks when all of the following circumstances are present:
Antibiotic treatment following a tick bite is not recommended as a means to prevent anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, or other rickettsial diseases. Instead, persons who experience a tick bite should be alert for symptoms suggestive of tickborne illness and consult a physician if fever, rash, or other symptoms of concern develop.
How Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
Tick control and prevention methods significantly reduce the likelihood of infection. Maintaining antibodies against B. burgdorferi through vaccination can further protect your animal. Antibody amounts and duration of vaccine antibodies can vary in individuals. Verifying your animals antibody response to vaccination helps to assure durable protection.
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How Can You Prevent Tick Bites
It is important to take protective measures when you will be outdoors, particularly in wooded or grassy areas. Steps to help prevent tick bites include:
- Treat your clothes with before going into outdoor areas.
- Wear long pants and sleeves.
- Spray yourself with insect repellant containing DEET.
- Avoid areas where ticks may live, such as tall grass, brush, or wooded regions.
- Examine your clothes and body for ticks after being outdoors. Use a hand mirror for hard to see areas.
- Shower within 2 hours of coming indoors to help wash away any unattached ticks.
- Check your children, pets, and gear for ticks after being outdoors.
Who Gets Lyme Disease And At What Time Of Year
Lyme disease is transmitted via the bite of infected ticks, which attach to any part of the body, but often to moist or hairy areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp.
While everyone is susceptible to tick bites, campers, hikers, and people who work in gardens and other leafy outdoor venues are at the greatest risk of tick bites. As many a suburban gardener can attest, with the expansion of the suburbs and a push to conserve wooded areas, deer and mice populations are thriving, too, providing ample blood meals for ticks. For lyme disease to be transmitted, a tick needs to feed on the host for 24-48 hours.
In the majority of cases, tick bites are reported in the summer months when ticks are most active and people spend more time outdoors. But this can extend into the warmer months of early autumn, too, or even late winter if temperatures are unusually high. Similarly, a mild winter can allow ticks, much like other insects, to thrive and emerge earlier than usual.
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Have You Been Bitten By A Partially Fed Tick
Investigators suggest that transmission time may be shorter if a tick has already fed on a host. A study by Shih and colleagues, found that, Partially fed nymphal ticks transmit spirochetal infection more rapidly than do ticks that have never been attached to a host.¹
So, how quickly a tick can transmit Lyme disease may depend on whether the tick had been partly fed BEFORE it attached to its second host.
Shih et al. demonstrated that partially fed nymphal ticks were capable of transmitting spirochetes to a non-infected mouse within 24 hours. The authors discovered it took less time for an infected nymphal deer tick to transmit Lyme spirochetes to a mouse if the tick was partially fed.
Tick Bite Treatment Near You
If youre in Connecticut, Massachusetts, or New York and think you may have been bitten by a tick, you can turn to PhysicianOne Urgent Care. Our network of immediate care centers offers tick removal, bite and rash assessment, and treatment services, all on a walk-in basis. Please feel free to call us at 860-650-3848 if you have any questions.
“The overall care I received was excellent! I also appreciate your affiliation with Yale New Haven Hospital.”
“Throughout the visit I felt like the staff really cared. The Doctor took his time talking with me about my symptoms, and I felt like he listened to all my concerns and took that into consideration when recommending the right treatment. Thank you!”
“I had to take my son in for an ear infection following a sudden change in temperament at daycare. He was inconsolable the entire car ride but when we got there and by the time we left this care facility he was back to his normal happy go lucky little two year old boy. I highly recommend PhysicianOne Urgent Care.”
“I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the attention you gave me last week. My son was started on antibiotics and ear drops. Within 24 hours he began to feel better. The poor kid had been going to school in tears because he was afraid of missing any more days, but feeling just awful! He’s not been able to even think about lacrosse practice, but thanks to starting him on antibiotics, he was thrilled to return to practice today.”
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- I found a tick embedded in my skin, but I cant get it out. What should I do?
- Ive been bitten by a tick. Do I need to be seen?
- Do I need a blood test to confirm Lyme disease?
- Which antibiotic is best for me?
- How long will I have to take the antibiotic?
- What tick or insect repellent should I use for me or my child?
- How long will the symptoms last?
- What should I do if I still dont feel well a long time after I was bitten?
Empowering You To Safely Enjoy The Outdoors Helping You To Take The Right Steps If You’re Bitten By A Tick
You can protect yourself against Lyme disease.
Lyme disease can spread to humans and pets through the bite of an infected black-legged tick. Mild symptoms can be treated with a short course of antibiotics. But Lyme disease can become serious, especially if not treated early.
That’s why you need to know what to do to reduce your risk of Lyme disease if you’re bitten by a tick and the risk factors and symptoms that might point to a diagnosis.
But don’t let concern about Lyme disease keep you inside. You can take steps before you go outside, once youre outdoors, and after you get home to prevent tick bites on yourself, your children, and your pets so you can safely enjoy the outdoors.
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How To Remove A Tick
As was noted above, because ticks can transmit Lyme disease after being attached to skin for at least 36 hours, its important to remove them as quickly as possible. Heres how to do so:
- Using a pair of fine tweezers, grasp the tick as close to your skin as you can.
- Gently pull backwards using steady, firm pressure .
- Be careful to not squeeze or puncture the tick while removing it.
- Place the tick into a Ziploc bag or a container with a lid so that you can show it to a medical provider, if needed.
- Once the tick has been removed, wash your hands, the bitemark, and your tweezers using rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
You may have heard advice about using liquid soap, Vaseline, nail polish, kerosene, matches, or cigarettes to remove ticksnever use those methods, since they could actually cause a tick to inject more bodily fluids into your skin.