Prevent lyme disease

Prevent Lyme Disease with Showers and Fences

Infection can cause complications if not treat early, but research suggests you can prevent Lyme disease with some simple tactics.

Prevent Lyme Disease with Showers and Fences

Time in the tub seems to fend off Lyme ticks, according to new research.

In the Northeastern United States, the place where you're most likely to be bitten by a tick carrying Lyme disease is not in the woods, but in your own backyard. Fortunately, research published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests that some of the best ways to prevent Lyme disease are free and practical—good news for people who are leery of using chemical insect repellents like DEET or permethrin. While they are effective, chemical repellants pollute waterways and have been shown to cause behavioral problems in animal studies.

THE DETAILS: Yale researchers focused their study in 24 Connecticut communities where the disease is endemic, looking at ways personal protection, landscaping, and chemical controls may help prevent Lyme disease in a backyard setting. They interviewed 349 people with Lyme, and an equal number of healthy people, asking questions about insect-repellent use, performing tick checks, and even the residents’ yards.

The two personal-protection measures that helped ward off Lyme disease were performing tick checks within 36 hours of spending time in the yard, and showering or taking a bath within two hours of being in the yard. Contrary to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, wearing light-colored clothing, long pants, and tucking your pants into your socks did not seem protective, at least in a backyard setting. But the data did show that having any type of fencing around the yard lowered risk of contracting Lyme disease. The reason for that is unclear; possibly the fences keep tick-carrying deer out of yards, or keep people away from woody edges of their property, where ticks are more likely to be found. More research is needed before fencing is recommended to prevent Lyme disease, the study authors say.

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Published on: August 30, 2009

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Tick bite prevention

You wrote:

The point of wearing light-colored clothing is that a tick can be seen more easily on light than on dark or patterned clothes. Tucking your pants into your socks is a physical barrier designed to keep those nasty critters from crawling up inside your pants.

Post by Jill 09/01/09

In rural WI, there may be more than one reason(other than hunting) for your deer being "nearly wiped out". The first thing that comes to my mind is CWD, or Chronic Wasting Disease. Discovered in the late 60's, by January 2007 twelve counties in Southern WI have deer infected with CWD. You can learn more by searching "chronic wasting disease" and clicking on the CDC's link. I hope you will find the info interesting as you are interested in protecting the deer population. It definitely gave me insight on the issue of deer population and "controlled" hunting. It's one way of monitoring the disease.
Just as in humans, if we didn't try to "control" disease, disease would eventually put our population into extinction. Make's sense, right?
Another possibility could be starvation brought on by overpopulation and loss of habitat due to over-building and deforestation. :(
As for the ticks, research has shown that ticks can carry MORE than just LYME disease. And deer seem to collect ticks by the hundreds. Where there have been deer, there are ALWAYS ticks present, however; I don't really notice seeing ticks after mice, cats, or dogs have been present(unless maybe they were feral). I have not seen rats, so no comment on that. Here's a thought, perhaps those ticks fell off a deer and then re-attached onto a new host that just happened to walk by. That could be how other animals get ticks. I would be more concerned with fleas and lice or mites/mange coming from rats and mice, and dogs and cats.
Do you practice tick prevention? Living in CT, the home(not the only home) of LYME disease and other disease-infested ticks, we have been protecting our animals and outdoor property with natural and environmental methods. Our animals and ourselves have been free of LYME disease for 25 yrs and counting.
Our dear family friend however has LYME disease, and thinks the tick may have jumped on her at the beach from the dune grass area.
We have seen how debilitating the disease can be. :(
Good Luck to you!! :)

Not only deer carry ticks

I live in rural Wi. I also lived in Oregon not in the country years ago and had first case of Lymes. I feel the deer carry theory a bit over kill, or for the deer. Honestly. Rats, mice, cats, dogs carry ticks. It is nation wide in all fifty states.

Let's not go over board on the deer killing or overpopulation. I live where deer have been nearly wiped out and lyme's is very much a problem. I get them from my yard, horses, dogs, and please, let's be realistic about this. If you killed every deer you would still have lymes.

Kind of like roaches.


I've read that ticks hang out on limbs of trees and bushes along paths where warm blooded animals and humans tread and drop off on them when they pass by. A fence would change their paths to going around another way.

Deer overpopulation

A huge problem that contributes to the spread of Lyme Disease is the number of deer living in the northern and eastern parts of the United States. There are more deer living now than were here when the pilgrims landed, and the deer population is destroying the woodland habitats of countless other species. They are voracious eaters and there are too many deer per square mile. This high density of deer no doubt contributes to the rise in the deer tick population as well. The fact that field mice are also infected isn't the real problem, other small rodents can act as the deer tick host during that part of the life cycle.

So there are really only 2 proven solutions: 1) install and maintain deer fencing at least 8 feet higher than the snow level and 2) reduce the deer population. A third possibility is to treat all of the deer with insecticides, however that just results in healthier deer that live longer to reproduce more.

Sorry if this upsets the animal rights groups who are vocal at every town hall meeting were deer control is mentioned, but when you add up the health costs, the automobile accident costs and the destruction of natural wildlife habitats, we are not doing any favors to the deer or us by letting them live in their current condition.

Lyme Disease

I have had Lyme Disease for several years. I live on Maryland's Eastern Shore and need to tell you that Lyme Disease is not just a Northeastern disease--it is all over the country now. Here, on the shore, a tick count found Lyme disease in 85% of the nymph ticks and it is my understanding that for some unknown reason, the disease that comes from Eastern Shore ticks seems to be more severe than that found in other places. I have found that the only sure way to not get Lyme is to do an extremely thorough tick check within hours of being anywhere where there might be ticks. Having someone else do this for you, if you can, is helpful because there are many places we simply can't adequately examine on our own bodies and prudery doesn't help!! And don't forget to examine your scalp and behind your ears and between your toes. They love to get on your backs and behind your knees. The ticks often look just like tiny freckles.

Fenced Yard Plus

We've got a fenced yard with two big dogs in it. Deer never come in as far as I can tell, but the dogs get plenty of ticks and have been diagnosed with Lyme disease multiple times. We are now keeping the lawn short and focusing on exclusion of mice which are reservoirs of the spirochete. I wholeheartedly endorse the shower thing, that's when I've found every tick on myself.

good article!

great article--thanks for the new info and being someone who works and enjoys time in the great outdoors almost every day and who has had lyme disease years ago (caught early luckly as I got the classic bulls eye and was treated),I encourage people to enjoy the great outdoors as much and as often as they can -- these simple steps can help us not limit our lives but rather enjoy them and the nature that surrounds us while taking steps to reduce our risks of contracting the disease.

Lyme Disease

Our back yard is fenced in and deer evidently jump over it anyway. The fence is about 5 feet tall.

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