You don’t have to live in or visit a wooded area to be exposed to ticks that spread Lyme disease. While you are more likely to encounter ticks in wooded areas, they can also hide in tall grass, shrubs or under leaves in your yard. Deer ticks, also known as the black legged tick, are the only type that spread this disease to humans and to animals. You need to be careful that you, your family or your pets are not exposed to the disease by properly maintaining your yard.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by the bite of a deer tick. It is characterized by a bull’s eye rash, fever, chills and headaches. It can also develop into arthritis, as well as heart and neurological disorders. The disease isn’t contagious and it cannot be passed from contact with a person who has the disease. It is only transmitted by being bitten by an infected tick.

Taking Precautions Against Lyme Disease

There are some precautions you can take to prevent being exposed to Lyme disease when you’re planning a camping trip or hiking in a wooded area. You can also take action to prevent exposure in your own yard. Here are a few tips to follow in order to lessen the likelihood of being bitten by an infected tick.

Wear Proper Attire

When you’re in a wooded area, wear light colored long sleeved shirts and pants. Tuck the legs of your pants into your socks or boots and tuck your shirt into you pants to keep from exposing your skin to ticks. Wearing light colors will help you spot a tick on your clothing.

Stay Out of the Grass

When you’re hiking a trail, stay in the center of it and avoid areas of high grass and piles of leaves. Mow your yard on a regular basis to keep grass from getting too tall and rake up the leaves in your yard. These are prime hiding spots for ticks.

Check for Ticks

After coming in from the outdoors, have your children shower as soon as they can and check them over carefully. If you are outside for an extended period of time, such as on a camping trip, take breaks and check them, and yourself, over for the creatures so you can spot them as soon as possible. Don’t panic if you spot one, just carefully remove it. Examine your gear and your pets for tick passengers as well.

Use Repellants

When you know you’re going to be out in a wooded area, use a repellant containing DEET on exposed skin. This will help repel any ticks that you might encounter.

There are several things you can do to prevent contracting Lyme disease from an infected tick by avoiding contact with them. There are a lot of wooded areas in Northern Virginia and you need to know what to do to avoid contracting this crippling disease and keep your family, including the furry members of your family, safe and healthy.