Tick Bite Prevention:
- May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month!
- Lyme Disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. It can be transmitted by ticks, black flies, or mosquitoes to man.
- Ticks spend part of their life cycle on small mammals (mice, chipmunks, squirrels), part on large mammals (deer), and part in the grass.
- Reduce ticks in the grass by keeping a well-manicured lawn and removing leaf debris. Create a barrier separating the woods from lawn using mulch, stone, tile, cedar chips, or gravel.
- Reduce small mammals in the yard by removing tall grass, brush, and Japanese barberry. Keep vegetation trimmed, stone walls in repair, and move wood piles away from the house.
- Reduce deer browsing in the yard by fencing in the property or using an electric deer fence. Chose plants that are deer resistant and less palatable to them.
- The smell of some plants/ herbs deter ticks and other insects. Plant them around house, garden or patio. A partial list includes: Sage, Lavender, Chrysanthemum, Lemon Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Peppermint, Mexican Marigold, Catnip, Black-eyed Susan, and Geranium.
- Many Essential Oils are natural tick / insect repellents including Rose-Geranium, Cedar Wood, Peppermint, Rosemary, and Lemon Eucalyptus.
- There are commercial essential oil products available at health stores to spray on before going outside.
- Although most Essential Oils need to be diluted with carrier oil before using them to prevent skin irritation, Rose-Geranium oil can be applied directly to the skin in small amounts. It comes in two forms. Look for the botanical name Pelargonium capitatum x radens. It is the more effective form (check Amazon). Place 1 drop of the oil on ankles, behind the knees, wrists, and back of neck before going outdoors. Can reapply if smell wears off.
- Consuming garlic or garlic pills helps deter ticks from you.
- When outside, wear a long sleeve top tucked in pants, long pants tucked in socks, hat, and boots. Light colored clothes make it easier to spot a tick and brush it off.
- Walk on established trails; avoid contact with adjacent shrubs and tall grass.
After being outdoors, put clothes in the dryer first on low heat for 5-10 minutes to kill any ticks through dehydration. If clothes are wet from outdoors, dry clothes completely to kill ticks. After killing the ticks then wash the clothes as usual.
- Do a thorough skin check after being outdoors to immediately remove any ticks.
Tick Bite Treatment:
- Remove ticks as soon as possible. DO NOT try burning the tick; smothering it with soap or alcohol; or twisting the tick to get it out. This can provoke it to regurgitate and increase chances of Lyme. Using a pointed tweezer, firmly grasp the tick as close to the head as possible, and pull the tick straight out. Use firm steady pressure, tugging firmly until it is removed. If the head or mouth remain behind in the skin it will eventually fall out. Don’t dig at the tick, this can cause infection.
- Do not throw the tick out. The tick can be tested for B. burgdorferi. Place the tick or partial tick in a Ziploc plastic bag. Do not put tape on the tick or put in alcohol. Take the tick to your doctor for testing. Remember if you found 1 tick there may have been others. Even if this tick is negative for Lyme, another tick on you may have been positive.
- After removing the tick, wash the area well with soapy water. Wipe with alcohol. You can apply antibiotic cream or coconut oil twice daily for 2 days to prevent infection.
- Boost your immune system with probiotics, rest, stress management, reduce sugars/ processed foods, and follow an anti-inflammatory diet.
- Contact the doctor immediately to see if antibiotics are needed.