Lyme disease could be considered a natural disaster if it hits you and your family so make sure you’re ready for prime tick season with a Lyme disease preparedness kit. Taking these few simple steps now can help reduce the risk that you and your family, including your animal companions, will succumb to Lyme disease infection. Are you really ready for summer?
Throw in the White Flag
Flagging for ticks is a great way to get an idea of how many are on your property, in your garden where the kids play, or on trails that you walk with your dog. Learn more about flagging here and make yourself a simple flagging tool. It’s also a good way to educate kids about ticks and bugs as they’re often more receptive to a visible threat than one that they only ever see on leaflets in school or in the clinic.
Pull Up Your Socks
A good pair of long hiking socks that wick away moisture to keep your feet cool and dry but that also cover up your legs to stop ticks biting is an absolute must for spring and summer. If you can tuck your pant legs into your socks even better. It might not look cool, but then neither does contracting a serious infection that can prove fatal.
DEET and Permethrin
Make sure to have an effective anti-acaricide spray whenever you are heading out into an area known to be infested with ticks. Better still, have a separate set of clothing in the car that has already been sprayed. That way, you don’t always have to put the spray on your skin and you don’t end up with all of your clothes coated in tick-repellent.
Magnifying Glass and Tweezers
Ticks are pretty small, especially when in their nymphal stage, so using a magnifying glass to check your skin and the skin and fur of your partners, friends, children, and animals can really help you spot a tiny tick that will grow as it feeds. A pair of tweezers may be all you need to remove a tick safely, or you can get a specially-designed tick removal tool from your pharmacy. If in doubt, ask a doctor or veterinarian to remove a tick and never use paraffin, solvents, or fire to try to burn off or remove ticks.
Alcohol Wipes and Antibacterial Cream
Should you or a family member get bitten, make sure to have sterilizing wipes and antibacterial cream on hand to clean and treat the bite mark and further reduce the risk of transmission after you’ve pulled the tick out.
A Home Tick-Test
If someone has been bitten then it can help to save the tick for testing; simply place it in a sealed plastic container with a slightly damp paper towel and freeze or refrigerate it. If symptoms arise then you can take the tick to your doctor for testing. Alternatively, home tick tests do exist although the sensitivity and specificity of these is not guaranteed.
Not so much a piece of the Lyme disease preparedness kit, more something to help in case you suspect you or a loved one may have been infected. Keeping a record of symptoms, right from the start, can help your doctor diagnose Lyme disease (or rule it out) much quicker than if you only recall a few health issues and can’t quite remember when they arose. A bout of summer flu, knee pain, heart palpitations: these are all possible symptoms of Lyme disease that, in retrospect, can be tied together to inform a diagnosis. If it’s unusual, mark it down.
What’s in your Lyme disease preparedness kit? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.