How to Avoid Lyme Disease in 2019: The Deer Tick Dilemma

<![CDATA[This time of the year, ticks are a very real threat in the Connecticut and New England area. If you are hiking, or spending time outdoors in a grassy or wooded area, there is a large chance you could be bit by a deer tick (link opens in a new tab). Deer ticks are actually the most common tick carrying Lyme Disease, and so it is extremely important to learn how to avoid the, and what to do if you do get bitten. Here’s the good news:  With precautions, you can avoid getting bit by a deer tick this season. That’s why AFC Urgent Care West Hartford has brought you a guide on how to avoid getting Lyme Disease in 2019.

Avoid Getting Lyme Disease in 2019: Don’t get bitten!

Probably the most obvious way to avoid getting Lyme Disease is to not get bitten by a deer tick in the first place! Here are a few simple, but highly effective ways of doing this:

  1. Use Insect Repellent: Use repellents that contain the common ingredient DEET (link opens in a new tab). It provides protection against many biting insects (most importantly ticks and mosquitoes). The Environmental Protection Agency (link opens in a new tab) and Center for Disease Protection have tools to help you pick the best insect repellent for you.
  2. Stay on the trail: When hiking, walk in the center of trails and avoid tall vegetation.
  3. Layer up: Wear long sleeves, socks and pants when in the woods, and when hiking. This includes in your own yard.
  4. Do a self-inspection: Make sure to check all parts of your body…especially these areas: (use a mirror if needed)
    • Under the arms
    • Behind the ears
    • In the scalp
    • Inside the belly button
    • Back of the knees
    • In and around all body hairavoid-lyme-disease-tick-bite
    • Between the legs
    • Around the waist
  5. Don’t forget about your furry friends: Check your pet for ticks as they may carry them into the house. Fur is a perfect place for ticks to hide, so try giving them a thorough brushing.

I’ve been bitten by a tick, how do I remove it?

Okay, so despite your valiant efforts, the sneaky little bugger bit you. It may not mean that you have Lyme Disease though, so let’s look at how you can properly remove a tick. Note that the “DO NOT’S” are very important, and doing them will only increase the likelihood the tick will transmit Lyme Disease.

  • Using tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible.
  • Gently pull the tick in a steady, upward motion.
  • Wash the area with a disinfectant immediately.
  • When trying to remove the tick:
    • DO NOT touch the tick with your bare hands.
    • DO NOT squeeze the body of the tick as this may increase your risk of infection.
    • DO NOT put alcohol, nail polish remover or Vaseline on the tick.
    • DO NOT put a hot match or cigarette on the tick in an effort to make it “back out.”
    • DO NOT use your fingers to remove the tick.

Applying alcohol, nail polish remover, or a hot match can irritate a tick and cause it to regurgitate its gut contents into your skin. The “guts” of a tick can contain the Lyme Disease causing bacterium.
Lyme disease is not to be taken lightly.  If you have been bitten by a tick, you can walk right into our urgent care center, no appointment necessary, at 1030 Boulevard, West Hartford, CT 06119-1801. At AFC Urgent Care West Hartford, we’re open 7 days a week and ready to treat you. You can save time by checking in online and we accept most insurances.]]>