Although there is mounting evidence to suggest that Lyme disease may be transmitted through a variety of ways, there are a few simple steps you can take to reduce your chances of contracting the disease from tick and insect bites and to protect yourself and your loved ones;
- Carry a tick removal tool with you at all times, if possible.
- Use a repellent when engaging in outdoor activities and choose one that repels ticks, mosquitoes and other biting insects. See Dr. Nicola Seal’s repellent review for advice on which brands to use.
- Although ticks have been found in urban parks and gardens, it’s wise to take extra precaution in long grass, leaf litter and in wooded areas.
- When hiking or doing other outdoor activities, try and stick to pathways where there tends to be less long grass.
- Wear a long-sleeved top and tuck trousers into socks to reduce skin exposure. Light-coloured clothing may enable you to see ticks more easily.
- If you are in a high risk area or taking part in a high risk activity, it is possible to buy pre-treated clothing from camping or hunting shops that has been sprayed with the repellent permethrin or you can spray clothing and shoes with this product yourself (do not spray directly on skin and be aware that it is toxic to cats).
- Check yourself, your children and your pets regularly for ticks when out and about and brush off any that are unattached.
- If you see an embedded tick, remove it as quickly as possible using the correct tick removal technique.
- Have a shower and check yourself thoroughly for ticks when you get home.
- If you become unwell or notice a rash, see your GP immediately and mention your concerns about Lyme disease.
Note that many people with confirmed Lyme disease do not remember being bitten by a tick or having a rash of any kind. There is also growing evidence that Lyme disease can be transmitted in ways other than by a tick bite such as mosquito bites or from mother to baby during pregnancy.