New Hampshire (NH) continues to have one of the highest rates of Lyme disease in the nation, and about 60% of deer ticks sampled in NH are infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease (2014, Medscape).
Additional preventative measures can include:
- Avoid tick-infested areas when possible and stay on the path when hiking to avoid brush.
- Wear light-colored clothing that covers arms and legs so ticks can be more easily seen.
- Tuck pants into socks before going into wooded or grassy areas.
- Apply insect repellent (20-30% DEET) to exposed skin. Other repellent options may be found here: Outdoor workers in NH are at particular risk of tickborne diseases and they should be reminded about methods of prevention.
- Do daily tick checks to look for ticks on the body, especially warm places like behind the knees, the groin, and the back and neck.
- Pets returning inside may also bring ticks with them. Performing tick checks and using tick preventatives on pets will minimize this occurrence.
- Shower soon after returning indoors to wash off any unattached ticks and check clothes for any ticks that might have been carried inside. Placing clothes in the dryer on high heat for an hour effectively kills ticks. A recent study suggests that if clothing is not wet, shorter drying times (minimum of 6 minutes) may effectively kill ticks.
- Remove ticks promptly using tweezers. Tick removal within 36 hours of attachment can prevent disease.
- Monitor for signs and symptoms of tickborne diseases for 30 days after a tick bite. Patients should contact their healthcare provider if symptoms develop.