Developing A Routine to Prevent Lyme Disease

Follow this routine for a tick check after returning from presumed tick infected area:

  1. Check clothing and gear. Carefully remove any ticks found on clothing.
  2. Remove shoes and all clothing immediately.
  3. Put clothes in laundry bag and place in clothes dryer on high heat for 10 minutes in order to kill ticks on dry clothing or for a longer time if the clothes are damp. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is best since cold water does not kill ticks.
  4. Shower within two hours of coming indoors, which might wash off unattached ticks and decrease your chance of getting a tickborne illness.
  5. Total body check:  Look everywhere on your body using a mirror to visualize areas that you can’t see.  If you have someone to help you with this, do have them look in the ears and on the scalp, which are very very hard to do alone. Even though ticks are likely to have attached to your clothing at the foot, ankle or lower leg level, they scamper around looking for any entry to the body so pay careful attention to scalp and back of the neck, ears, under arms, inside elbow joint, under the breasts, in the belly button, around the waist, groin, genital area, back of the knees and between the legs and the toes

If you find a tick use the CDC recommended procedure for removal and disposal of the tick. Follow this routine

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  4. Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.

If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, see your doctor. Be sure to tell the doctor about your recent tick bite, when the bite occurred, and where you most likely acquired the tick.


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