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What's My Lyme Disease Risk?

Is the thought of Lyme disease making you feel you'd be safer in the comfort of your room rather than the great outdoors? Before you download a summer-long supply of games and apps, here's some information to help you know if you're at risk for Lyme disease.

What Areas Are Most Affected?

Lyme disease is the leading tick-borne (carried by ticks) disease in the United States. Experts think that some cases of Lyme disease aren't found because some people don't know that they have it.

Nearly all cases of Lyme disease in the United States happen in the Northeast, upper Midwest, and Pacific coastal states. Lyme disease has been reported in other states (and even in Asia, Europe, and Canada), but those hardest hit are:

Outdoor Activities and Pets

Besides living in one of these areas, other things that might increase your risk include:


Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented?

So you got a job as a landscaper this summer and you're planning a big camping trip. Take these precautions to protect yourself:

If you use insect repellents containing DEET, follow the instructions on the product's label. Don't put on too much. Using more product than you need won't increase your protection.

Place DEET on shirt collars and sleeves and pants cuffs, and only use it directly on exposed areas of skin. Be sure to wash it off when you go back indoors. Don't spray aerosol or pump products containing DEET directly onto your face; instead, spray it on your hands and rub it into your face.

How Do I Remove a Tick?

You should know how to remove a tick just in case one lands on you or a friend.

First, don't panic. Your risk of developing Lyme disease after being bitten by a tick is low. And it takes at least 24–48 hours for the tick to transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. To be safe, remove the tick as soon as possible.

If you find a tick:

Note: Don't use petroleum jelly or a lit match to kill a tick. They won't get the tick off your skin quickly enough, and may just cause it to burrow deeper into your skin.

Date reviewed: September 2015

Note: All information on TeensHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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