Going on a weekend get away is great fun, but its important to be prepared and take precautions so that you return as healthy as you were when you left. One risk if you are going on a trip outdoors is exposure to Lyme Disease through deer ticks.
Does that mean we all have to stay inside, cowarding with fear from the tiny deer ticks that carry the disease? No! Just assemble an inexpensive kit, small enough to fit in the glove box of your car, or saddlebag of your bicycle and you are off to enjoyable and healthy adventures!
Step 1: What to Include in Your Kit?
A Lyme Disease safety kit is simple, it should include:
- a clothing item such as a bandana, hat, or buff infused with permethrin (this is insecticide that repels deer ticks)
- a pair of permethrin infused socks
- a pair of fine pointed tweezers
- a magnifying lens
- hand mirror
- a lint roller (the type with sticky tape in removable layers
- a photo of a deer tick (to remind you of the appearance of these little critters)
So what do I do with all of this stuff?
Well, before you head off into the natural world put on some insecticide infused clothing. That will ward off ticks. Tuck your pant legs into your socks for even more thorough protection. When you are finished adventuring, or when you get to your campsite for the night for multiple day adventures, carefully check over your whole body for ticks. These are tiny creatures, many of them can fit on the head of a penny. Use your magnifying lens to inspect any spots that may be tick nymphs. Use the hand mirror to check spots you cannot directly see such as behind your back. If you come across a nest of deer ticks, you will know because you will be covered in nymphs which are an immature form of the deer and still infectious. Don't panic. Remain calm, and go back to your Lyme Disease prevention kit. Remember that lint roller you added? It wasn't for removing lint, it is for removing nymphs! Slowly and carefully roll the lint roller over the area that is covered with nymphs. Pull the outside sheet from the lint roller and repeat until you do not see any nymphs remaining.
Step 2: Further Reading About Lyme Disease Prevention
If you are interested in reading additional material about Lyme Disease here are a few helpful sources of information:
Go out and enjoy the outdoors, and be safe!