Lyme disease is the most common insect transmitted disease in the United States and Canada. It is transmitted by infected black-legged and deer ticks when they attach themselves to their hosts. In the early stages, it can cause flu-like symptoms such as fever, achiness, and fatigue. Often presenting with a bulls-eye rash, it can also infect a person without ever having a rash. If not treated in its early stages, long-term health conditions of the joints, heart, or nervous system can occur. An elderly care aide can be there to help prevent it by following these tips.
While it may seem the best way for your parent to avoid Lyme disease is to not go outside during the spring months, this may not be a feasible request or even a desired request. The benefits of getting outside and enjoying nature are tremendous, especially if you live in an area that experiences a long winter.
So instead of avoiding going outside at all, help your parent take some precautionary steps before she heads to the back yard or parks to prevent Lyme disease.
Wear pants and socks (have your parent tuck her pants into her socks if she can) in wooded areas, areas with lots of tall grasses, and while handling fallen leaves. It can be hard if the weather is warm but preventing a tick from crawling up the leg and immediately attaching itself to the body is a good way to prevent Lyme disease (and the need to remove a tick from the body).
Apply tick repellent that has DEET, lemon oil, or eucalyptus on exposed skin and all clothing. Tick repellent will confuse the tick so it cannot determine if you are a possible host or not. Don’t forget to spray your parent’s shoes and pants as most ticks come from the ground and work their way up the body. Your parent should never use DEET on her hands and should make sure to wash off any tick repellant applied to her skin as soon as she’s back inside.
Take a shower within 2 hours after coming inside, if possible. This will not only remove any tick repellant on your parent’s skin, it will also give her a chance to inspect her body for any ticks that may have hitched a ride. It will also get your parent out of the clothes she was wearing outside.
Examine all areas of the body and wash ticks out of the hair with the help from elderly care aides. Since many areas of the body are hard to see without a lot of twisting, turning and multiple mirrors, have your elderly care provider examine your parent’s back and scalp for any ticks that may already be attached after the shower.
Put clothing and any exposed gear into a hot dryer to kill whatever pests might remain. If your parent doesn’t have immediate access to a dryer, put the clothes in a sealed plastic bag until she is able to have her elderly care provider wash and dry her clothes.
If a pet was with your parent, she should examine the pet as soon as they are back inside as well. Pets can also get Lyme disease and/or ticks can climb off a pet and onto your parent once inside.
Most times, ticks are just an icky nuisance but being aware of how to prevent a tick bite a possibly be infected with Lyme disease will make your parent’s spring much more enjoyable. Having elderly care services and assist in their outdoor experiences.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elderly Care Services in Chicago IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.