The nonprofit organization VTLyme.org advises that the best way to prevent tickborne diseases is to prevent tick bites. At a time when our health care system is challenged by coronavirus disease, tick bite prevention is extremely important.
Symptoms of tickborne diseases may be similar to other illnesses, including COVID-19. One third of Lyme disease patients in Vermont do not have a bulls-eye rash, so viral-like symptoms including fever, headache, and fatigue may confound diagnosis.
According to the Vermont Department of Health, the following steps can help to prevent tick bites:
- Wear clothing treated with Permethrin and use recommended repellents.
- Wear light colored clothing so that it is easier to spot ticks.
- Stay on the center of hiking trails and use a blanket or tarp to avoid sitting directly on the ground when resting or picnicking.
- Conduct daily tick checks.
- Tick check your gear and clothing prior to getting into a vehicle or entering your home.
- Place exposed clothing and gear directly into dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks that may be clinging to the fabric. (It has to be the dryer - putting them directly in the washer does not kill ticks.)
- Shower as soon as you come inside.
- Avoid sleeping with pets.
Over 60 percent of blacklegged ticks in Vermont are infected with a disease causing pathogen. Add a daily tick check to your social distancing routine to help prevent tickborne diseases. Additional prevention resources, including information about how to landscape your yard to discourage ticks, is available at www.vtlyme.org/prevention.