Harrison Begay (1914-2012)
Navajo artist Arizona-New Mexico
There’s no surefire way to avoid getting Lyme disease. But you can minimize your risk. Be aware of ticks when you are in high-risk areas. If you work outdoors or spend time gardening, fishing, hunting, or camping, take precautions:
- Wear enclosed shoes or boots, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants. Tuck your pant legs into your shoes or boots to prevent ticks from crawling up your legs.
- Use an insect repellant containing 10% to 30% DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide).
- Wear light-colored clothing to help you see ticks more easily.
- Keep long hair pulled back or wear a cap for protection.
- Don’t sit on the ground outside.
- Check yourself for ticks regularly — both indoors and outdoors. Wash your clothes and hair after leaving tick-infested areas.
If you use an insect repellent containing DEET, always follow the recommendations on the product’s label and don’t overapply it. Place DEET on shirt collars and sleeves and pant cuffs, and only use it directly on exposed areas of skin. Be sure to wash it off when you go back indoors.
No vaccine for Lyme disease is currently on the market in the United States.
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks.