tick on grass

Lyme disease is a serious and potentially debilitating disease that can have acute and chronic symptoms. These symptoms include fatigue, skin rashes, joint swelling, headaches, fever, dizziness, and in some cases paralysis. Over time, Lyme disease can lead to neurological problems, cognitive decline, light sensitivity, sleeplessness, chronic fatigue, and heart problems. This is not a disease any of us want to get. But what most people understand about Lyme disease is surprisingly limited. Today, we hope to increase your understanding of this disease threat and give you some tips to help you protect yourself and your family.

How You Get Lyme Disease

There is much research that is left to be done on the topic of Lyme disease. At the time of this writing, it is believed that Lyme disease is spread by ticks. In Massachusetts, the primary threat for Lyme disease is the blacklegged tick, which is also referred to as the deer tick. Blacklegged ticks are known to have the ability to carry the bacterial spirochete known as Borrelia burgdorferi, named after the scientist Dr. Burgdorfer, who discovered it in 1981. When a blacklegged tick introduces this spirochete to a human, by way of a tick bite, it takes a certain level for Lyme disease to develop. Experts believe that it can take as long as 48 hours for a tick to transmit enough bacteria to cause Lyme disease.

How Ticks Get Lyme Disease

A blacklegged tick isn't born with Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. They get this bacteria from infected animals. These infected animals are referred to as reservoirs. One reservoir of particular interest is mice. Mice are so tied to the spread of Lyme disease that some researchers are able to predict Lyme disease cases that will occur in a year, based on mouse populations of the previous year.  

How To Prevent Lyme Disease

There are many factors to consider if you want to protect yourself and your family from Lyme disease. They can be broken down into the following four parts.

Wildlife Management

While ticks can migrate a short distance, they're mostly carried into your yard by furry and feathery animals. Use these tips to manage animal activity:

  • Install fencing around gardens and other food options.

  • Install fencing to prevent animals from seeking harborage under structures.

  • Remove lawn clutter to remove hiding places for animals.

  • Keep your exterior trash in covered receptacles that cannot be knocked over.

  • Move bird feeders to at least 20 feet from your exterior.

Rodent Exclusion

Particular effort must be made to keep mice and rats from bringing ticks into your home. Use these tips to keep rodents out:

  • Remove objects that are near your exterior walls.

  • Remove wood stacks, brush piles, and leaves.

  • Seal gaps around pipes and wire conduits.

  • Replace or repair weatherstripping, door sweeps, door and window frames, screens, vent covers, and glass panes.

Pet Protection

If you have a dog or a cat, not only will your pet be susceptible to Lyme disease, your pet can bring ticks into your home. Use these tips to protect your pets and yourself:

  • Have your veterinarian determine whether or not a flea and tick collar is appropriate for your pet.

  • Do routine tick checks and remove ticks early. Check between the toes and inside the ears. These are common locations where ticks will attach.

  • If you have a dog and you do not have an external play area, consider constructing one. Fences reduce wildlife traffic and tick exposure.

Bite Prevention

When you go outside, a tick can attach to your skin. Use the following tips to prevent this:

  • Spray mosquito repellent on your feet and lower legs. This can help to stop ticks from climbing up.

  • Consider tucking your pant legs into your socks.

  • Avoid tall grass and wooded areas.

  • Don't hug raccoons.

Tick Reduction

Once you've done what you can do, and even before you do what you can do, consider investing in tick reduction for your property. There is no better way to reduce ticks and limit your exposure to Lyme disease than to have the team here at American Pest Solutions provide Mosquito & Tick Control services for your property. The treatments we apply can work to reduce vector-borne disease transmission by 92 percent. Reach out to us today to schedule service.

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