The Lyme Prevention Checklist
As part of our deep dive into some of the complexities of Lyme disease, we turned to Heather Hearst, the founder and now president of Project Lyme, a global advocacy organization focused on prevention and early detection. Hearst outlines their prevention guidelines below—essential for staying as safe as we can in the first place—and we’re also sharing EWG’s tips on choosing an insect repellent, which we learned via their senior scientist, David Andrews, Ph.D.
Heather Hearst on Preventing Lyme Disease
The bacteria that causes Lyme is carried by ticks, specifically black-legged or deer ticks. Ticks transmit Lyme disease by biting you and entering your skin through the bite. If you can avoid tick bites entirely, or remove a tick that has bitten you right away, you can largely protect yourself from this debilitating disease. The sooner you remove the tick, the better off you will be.
Bigger picture: We need more funding to solve this epidemic: most importantly, for a better test and better treatments for patients who do not fully recover from Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. There is still so much we don’t know about ticks and tick borne diseases, and there are also some studies looking at other potential carriers and ways the bacteria is transmitted to humans. (For research donations, I recommend Bay Area Lyme Foundation, and Project Lyme for awareness and education.)
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Sawyer Insect Repellent is a versatile picaridin spray recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as safe and effective for most people. Our testers liked the evaporating smell and how the spray feels once it dries.
Insects and arachnids that bite in self-defense instead of to feed -- such as yellow jackets, bees, wasps, hornets, certain ants or spiders -- cannot be repelled with insect repellents.
The number of bug-borne diseases is increasing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the number of places they're spreading to is also on the rise.
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