It’s spring. With it comes longer days, warmer weather, cookouts, picnics, baseball and icky creepy crawly ticks. Lyme disease is steadily on the rise. According to the CDC there are over 300,000 new cases of Lyme reported each year (I believe this is HUGELY underestimated but that is a subject for another blog post). Lyme is most commonly transmitted through the bite of a black legged tick. With more people, dogs, cats and rodents becoming infected the chances of picking up this potentially devastating illness has increased. The tick will transfer whatever the tick has picked up in its eating lifetime. That means whatever its last bloodmeal(s) had it will pass on to the next one. Eww. So how do you avoid getting Lyme? Below are some tips and tricks to help decrease your chances of getting this dreaded disease.
2 weeks ago I wrote about my long journey with Lyme. If you would like to read about it click here
Don’t Get Bitten in the First Place.
- One is to cover yourself in a natural deterrent. Ticks are scent driven creatures. They will bite who smells good to them. By covering your body (this means head to toe) with a natural, essential oil-based repellent like our own Hit the Road Bugs will help keep the bugs from biting.
- Wear light covered clothing so you can spot the blood suckers before they bite.
- If you are walking in a tick infested area (woods, long grasses, leaf piles) make sure you tuck your pants into your socks. This will keep the critters from crawling up your pant leg.
- Avoid tick infested areas. Look out for signs that say “beware of ticks” and don’t go in there. Be smart and be aware of your surroundings. If you are entering a wooded area, make sure to stay on the path. Don’t venture off into long grasses. Even with these precautions you are still vulnerable.
- Coat your shoes, hats and outer clothing with Permethian. Make sure you do not get this on your skin, only on your outermost clothing. Apply the Permethian outside and allow the clothing to dry completely before wearing it. This usually lasts for anywhere from 30-60 washes.
- When you come in from an infested area put all your clothes in the dryer on high heat for 30-60 minutes. Do not put them in the washing machine. Ticks can live underwater for 13 days. Only dry heat kills them.
- Eat garlic. Ticks do not like the smell. An added bonus is that garlic is stimulating to your immune system, anti-microbial and anti-fungal.
- Drink Cistus Incanus Tea. 3-4 cups daily. This creates a smell on your skin that ticks don’t like. You can make this light, caffeine free tea into an iced tea and drink it all summer.
- Do a thorough tick check every night. This includes, ears, underarms, behind the knees and the groin.
Enjoy the warm weather and enjoy being outside again. Just do so with these precautions in mind. It is important not to be afraid of your environment. Instead, know what to do in the face of this potential danger and act quickly and appropriately.
I will publish Part II next Monday which will cover what to do if you do get bitten. In two weeks I will publish the best tests for Lyme Disease detection.
For more information, to make an appointment, or to order Hit the Road Bugs natural tick repellant, or Plain-T’s Cistus Incanus Tea, call our office STANDwellness 631-500-9021.
By Tapp Francke Ingolia