Lyme Disease can have symptoms that range from mildly uncomfortable to completely disabling. The disease can go undetected for weeks or months, then dramatically impact your life. If you live in Northern Virginia, you’re in prime deer tick territory and should act to protect yourself and your family from Lyme disease. By controlling rodents in your environment, wearing appropriate clothing, and taking proper care of your pets, you can limit your exposure to deer ticks and therefore, limit your chances of contracting Lyme disease.
Control Rodents in Your Home Environment
Ticks frequently use rodents as their host animals. Since ticks cannot fly, they typically crawl from one host to another, using grass, shrubbery, or tree limbs as necessary. To prevent yourself from Lyme disease, it’s important to control rodents in and around your home. Eliminate areas where rodents can hide or where they can come into contact with your children or pets. Keep grass around your home cut short and avoid planting low shrubs in areas where your pets or children play. If you find evidence of rodents in your home, call an exterminator – you’ll need to keep them from coming into contact with your family.
Take Proactive Measures to Discourage Ticks
If you’ll be outdoors for long periods of time, dress appropriately. Keep your children from playing in tall weeds or grass – these areas frequently harbor ticks. If your children go on camping trips, play in the woods, or are in areas that are known to be populated with deer ticks, be sure to check their bodies completely when they return. Bath time is an excellent time to check little ones for ticks; be sure to look in their hair, behind their ears, and between their fingers and toes. Deer ticks are quite small and can hide on the human body extremely easily.
Dress Appropriately When Outdoors
If you’ll be outside in a tick-infested area, or live in an area where deer ticks are common, it’s important that you dress appropriately. Wear a long sleeved shirt, long pants, and tuck your pants legs into your socks to prevent ticks from crawling up your legs. In addition, consider pulling long hair back and wearing a hat. Apply an EPA approved insect repellent that lists ticks on the label. Practicing good tick control measures is a crucial part of avoiding Lyme Disease, just as enlisting a mosquito control service can be an important part of limiting the spread of West Nile Virus.
Manage Your Pets’ Outdoor Time
Keep your dogs and cats out of tall grass and wooded areas. If you live in a forested area, or if they regularly play in this type of environment, be sure to check your animals for ticks regularly. If you find a tick on them, practice good first aid when removing it and be sure to kill the insect. Remember that ticks can crawl from your pet to you or your children, and be especially alert when handling your pet after it has been outdoors.