Some information bears repeating.
It is finally spring and time to get outside and hike, bike, and garden. As more of us venture outside wearing less than a parka, ticks see a smorgasbord.
Armed with the knowledge that the Lyme Disease spirochete and some other bacteria and viruses carried by ticks are persisters (meaning they hang out long after treatment), the diseases are often chronic with episodes of relapse and remission through life and may lead to other problems. You can deduce that prevention of Lyme Disease is key.
Lyme Disease and Tick Bite Prevention
Cover your skin with clothing and tick repellent
I know that most commercial bug juice is toxic. There are some nontoxic and less toxic options available and some viable recipes to make your own. Geranium oil is a great option. Here is one link: https://ohsimply.com/homemade-tick-repellent-recipe/. Pinterest has a plethora of recipes. For those who would rather use a commercial product that does have some toxicity, just detox more aggressively for a bit. I would rather detox from the repellent than risk getting Lyme or other tick-borne disease.
Stay on the path
Walk and play on paths and grass that has been cut. Stay out of the tall grass, edges of woods, weeds, wood piles, leaf piles, and piles of yard or tree debris.
An ounce of prevention is the routine tick check
After coming inside and removing all clothing, check your entire body from head (in the hair) to toes (in between them too). Put the clothes into a garbage bag and seal it until you can launder them. Check your pets and kids every day.
What to do if you find a tick
If you do find an attached tick remove it properly (https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/removing_a_tick.html) and save it in a plastic sandwich bag until you can bring it in to send to a lab for testing.
Call us to get in for an appointment and start treatment right away. It is easier to discontinue treatment if the tick comes back negative for disease than to start treatment late, and give potential infections an advantage.
Having been previously treated for Lyme disease does not render immunity. You can be re-infected. The bottom line is constant vigilance. Being smart and careful should allow you to enjoy life and the out-of-doors.
Cathlene Heideman NP, LAc, practices at National Integrated Health Associates and blends her knowledge of integrative medicine, acupuncture and herbals for the optimal health of the patient. Her areas of focus include adult primary care, Lyme Disease and co-infections, gut issues, acupuncture, detoxification, and acute and chronic disease managment.