How Travelers Can Protect Themselves from Lyme Disease This Summer

The weather has warmed and the summer vacationing season is finally here.  As suitcases across the country are being packed with traditional summertime necessities like sunscreen, goggles and favorite books for easy reading, one of the most important things for travelers who have extensive outdoor plans to keep in mind is something they usually don’t think about until it’s too late – tick prevention.

The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance has compiled a list of the top five “must have” items in a Tick-Prevention Summer Travel Kit that every summer adventurer should include in their travel bags this season.

Lyme disease is the fastest growing infectious disease and the most common tick-borne disease in the country, according to the Center for Disease Control, but Lyme is only one of many diseases that ticks are able to pass on their human hosts.  TheTBDA Tick-Prevention Summer Travel Kit could actually prove to be lifesaving.

The TBDA Tick-Prevention Summer Travel Kit includes:

o        Tick-Repellent Clothing.  Brands such as Insect Shield, ExOfficio’s BugsAway or ElimiTick can be purchased from retailers like L.L. Bean and Eastern Mountain Sports and are effective for up to 70 washes.  Clothing-safe tick sprays such as those with permethrin, an insecticide that repels and kills ticks, are a great alternative to pre-treated clothing.  Footwear, socks and sleeping bags should always be treated along with pants and shirts.

Lyme Disease photo by WikiHow
Lyme Disease photo by WikiHow

o        Maximum Coverage Clothing.  Travelers should bring along a pair of pre-treated, light-colored long pants, a long sleeve shirt and a hat when outside in the elements.  A reduction in the amount of skin exposed means a reduction in the number of places a tick can attack. 

o        Insect Repellent that is approved by the EPA should be included and many brands come in easy-to-carry travel sizes that are perfect to take on long adventures.  Some sprays to try are Buzz Away Extreme, Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent or Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition.

o        Re-Sealable Bags.  When returning from the outdoors while on a trip, a person should place any untreated dirty clothes in a re-sealable bag until these clothes can be put in a dryer, which would kill any existing ticks.  Sealing up the untreated dirty clothes will prevent any ticks that might be on these items from being transported to clean clothes, bedding and anywhere else.

o        Lots of Soap!  Many ticks are so small that they can go unnoticed and showering immediately after spending time outside will help to spot and remove unattached ticks.  Bath time is the perfect time for everyone to carefully inspect themselves for any unwanted hitchhikers.



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