Preventing Lyme Disease

Mark your calendars for an engaging evening with Captain Richard Phillips presented by Lyme Awareness of Cape Cod  on April 18 @ 6:00pm.  He’ll be speaking at the Barnstable High School Performing Arts Center on Cape Cod about his life experiences and the dangers he faced on the high seas with Somali pirates.  Following the talk is a dinner at the Yarmouth House along with a meet and greet and book signing by Capt. Phillips of his book “A Captains Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS,and Dangerous Days at Sea”.  Tickets for talk only are $25.00 and available on-line at or at the Brewster Book Store, $30.00 at the door.  


Watch out -deer ticks are here!  My cousins and I were enjoying a beautiful Easter walk in the woods and near the marshes on Cape Cod when we discovered several deer ticks.  Already? Yes!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lyme disease is one of the fastest spreading infectious diseases in the United States.

English: National Lyme disease risk map with 4...

English: National Lyme disease risk map with 4 categories of risk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Deer ticks in the Northeast carry the illness, where 90% of all US cases are reported.  Lyme disease has become more prevalent partly because suburban neighborhoods have expanded into wooded areas where ticks thrive.  Deer, mice and pets carry deer ticks, about the size of a poppy seed. If a tick bites you, remove it right away, identify it and have it tested if you suspect a deer tick. One in four nymphal deer ticks can infect you with some kind of disease if they feed for more than 24 hours.  (Some sources say they only have to  be attached for as little as two hours to transmit the disease.)


Ticks (Photo credit: Kriatyrr)


I had Lyme disease a few year ago and was the sickest I had ever been with a severe headache, joint pain, high fever and flu-like symptoms.  I was one of the lucky ones however, with a defining bull’s eye rash and was able to get on antibiotics right away, which cured it.  But many people don’t get the rash and it’s easy to confuse body aches and fevers with other diseases. The blood tests are often inaccurate too; you can still have Lyme disease even with a negative blood test.

English: Erythematous rash in the pattern of a...

English: Erythematous rash in the pattern of a “bull’s-eye” from Lyme disease (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


As with anything else, prevention is your best medicine.

What you can do to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease:

  • Avoid being bitten by a tick, which is most plentiful where woodlands transition into fields, meadows or yards.
  • Avoid tall grasses.
  • Avoid deer paths in the woods, which are usually loaded with ticks.
  • Avoid places where mice are abundant like leaf litter, woodpiles, mulch beds, gardens, rock walls.
  • When you are in high tick area, wear light-colored clothing to spot them easier.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants with your pants tucked into your socks when working outside or hiking in tick-infested areas.
  • Use insect repellant; clothes can be sprayed directly.
  • Walk in the center of trails.
  • Always do tick checks after being outside in a high deer tick area.  Magnifying glasses help with spotting deer ticks.
  • Shower after being in a tick-infested area.
  • Putting your clothes in a dryer at high heat for 35 minutes will kill ticks.  Most ticks are very sensitive to heat.
  • Take garlic supplements daily to help repel insects and ticks.
  • Treat pets to minimize risk. Pets can get Lyme disease too and bring ticks into the house.

Cultural Practices you can do in your yard to help eliminate ticks:

  • Mow along boundary lines of your yard.
  • Treat your yard with a professional spray or do it yourself.
  • Keep grass mowed regularly.
  • Install a low brick wall where your yard ends and woods begin.
  • In high tick areas, get guinea hens – they eat deer tick.

Visit Lyme Awareness of Cape Cod for more detailed  information.  The University of Rhode Island has a comprehensive website as well.

Lyme disease is a dreadful disease which left untreated can cause chronic major problems seriously affecting your health.  Early diagnosis and proper treatment can help cure you.

Be vigilant and don’t let ticks ruin your summer!


For more green living tips, visit

6 responses to this post.

  1. Hi Betsy!!

    I hope you are doing well.

    I was wondering two things.

    1. If you would like to join me in an earth day challenge. I have wanted to come up with an idea we can repeat every year, a fun challenge of sorts and I finally figured it out. Every year I want to dot he bread bag challenge. Basically you save a bread bag and that is the only amt. of trash you are able to throw away on Earth Day. Everything else has to be composted, reduced, reused or recycled. I got this inspiration from a college TA who every week saved her bread bag and that was her trash bag for the entire week! Now most of us can’t do that but if we have a bread bag for our trash for one day my hope is that it will inspire a few changes in habit, like using that water bottle or reusable container at lunch and make you aware of what kind of trash you make most.

    I want to get a team together so we can all share photos with our bread bags, spread awareness and if I have time I will make a signup link were you do your pledge ahead of time. I hope to figure out how to do that over the weekend.

    Please let me know if you are game for our first #breadbag #eathday challenge!!

    The second thing is asking for your help! I was chosen as a top 10 in a future of wellness shark tank style completion and I need votes by noon on Friday to get to represent cape cod in the top 3 in NYC next week. It is fast turnaround.

    Here is the link to my FB page. Would you be willing to vote and promote on your social channels? All the info is in the post on the top. I need all the help I can get to make it to NYC to do a live pitch at the event.

    Thanks so much and I hope to do more collaborating soon!

    Devin Donaldson The Optimist Co.



    • Just voted Devin! Very exciting – best of luck. Yes, I’d love to do the bread bag challenge. Glad things are going so well for you. Keep up the good work…..


  2. Posted by Carol Moriarty on April 8, 2015 at 12:25 am

    This is very helpful. Thank you! Carol

    Sent from my iPad



  3. Posted by Tudy & David Hill on April 8, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    very helpful lists, Betsy- thanks!



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