Protect Yourself: Ticks and Lyme Disease

The best way to prevent disease is to prevent tick bites

Tickborne illnesses are most frequently transmitted between early spring and late fall since ticks are most active during warm months. By taking preventive measures, such as wearing a repellent containing 30% DEET, checking your body daily for ticks, and actively limiting exposure to ticks and tick habitats, you can decrease your risk of infection.

Avoid areas where ticks live

Keep ticks off your skinpants tucked into socks, ankles sprayed with insect repellent

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Perform routine tick checks

Remove ticks from your clothes before going indoors

Wash your clothes with hot water and dry them using high heat for at least one hour.

Check your body and your child’s body after being outdoors.

Even in your own yard. Use a mirror to view all parts of your body (in armpits, behind ears, in groin, etc.) and remove any ticks you find.

Shower soon after you come inside if you have been in a tick habitat

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What to do if you have a tick bite

Remove the tick.
Try to remove the tick as soon as you discover it because prompt removal can prevent Lyme disease. It can take 36 hours for a tick to transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease to you.

Safely remove ticks

Early tick removal may reduce the risk of infection of some tick-borne diseases. Follow the steps below to safely remove ticks from animals and humans.

1. Use fine-tipped tweezers, or one of the many available tick removal tools, and firmly grasp the tick close to the skin. Avoid touching the tick with your bare hands. image of tick removal with tweezers

 


2. With a steady motion, pull straight up until all parts of the tick are removed. Do not twist or jerk the tick. Do not be alarmed if the tick's mouthparts remain in the skin. Once the mouthparts are removed from the rest of the tick, it can no longer transmit the Lyme disease bacteria.
image of tick removal

 

 

 

DO NOT use petrolium jelly, a hot match, nail polish, or any other products to remove a tick. These methods are not effective.

In a pinch, if you don't have tweezers with you when you find a tick, you can use a credit card to remove the tick. Slide the card between the tick and your skin and apply steady pressure. This usually causes the tick to release.

Thoroughly wash your hands and the bite area

After removing the tick, wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Clean the tick bite with soap and water or use an antiseptic such as iodine scrub or rubbing alcohol.

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Watch for symptoms of Lyme disease

If a tick is attached to your skin for less than 36 hours, your chance of getting Lyme disease is small. But just in case, monitor your health closely and be on the alert for symptoms of Lyme disease. Symptoms may begin as soon as 3 days after a tick bite or as long as 30 days after, but they usually appear within a few weeks of a tick bite. Contact your health care provider if you develop a rash or clu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, joint pain, muscle aches and fatigue soon after a tick bite.

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Testing the tick is not recommended

The Vermont Department of Health does not test ticks for Lyme disease and does not recommend that tick testing be done. There are several reasons for this:

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