Lyme disease is prevalent in Northern Virginia, and local immunologist Dr. Srinagesh Paluvoi cautions his patients to be aware of ticks when outdoors.
We see a lot more cases of tick bites and Lyme Disease in the summer, when more people have their skin exposed and are spending more time with outdoor activities, said Paluvoi, who practices in Gainesville and Leesburg. Prevention of Lyme disease is key, knowing what to look for, and more importantly, how to prevent the initial tick bite.
Paluvoi recommends these top 10 tips to help avoid tick bites:
- Be cautious in places with lots of woods, forest, bushes and grass, especially from late spring to mid-summer when ticks are most active.
- Wear extra protective clothing if hiking overgrown trails.
- Wear light-colored clothes. This will make it easier to spot ticks.
- Wear long sleeves, long pants and socks. Tuck in clothing, to include tucking socks into pants.
- Use tick repellant. The Centers for Disease Control recommends using an insect repellent with at least 20-30 percent DEET on skin and clothing. Make sure that all exposed areas are treated, and repeat treatment as needed.
- Check for ticks on your clothes before going indoors.
- Wash and dry clothing using high heat levels.
- Check your skin for ticks. Do a fully body check, including the groin, armpits and head. Use tweezers to remove any ticks you find.
- Contact your physician after being bitten by a tick to see whether you should take an antibiotic for treatment.
- Wash your hair, face, and hands as often as you can. Washing soon after exposure will help the ticks fall off quicker.