Summer is upon us and with the advent of sunny days and favorable weather comes increased outdoor activity. Pursuing outdoor activities is both healthful and pleasurable. Some of our activities take us off the beaten path and we find ourselves in wooded and grassy areas that can be ‘tick heaven’.
The Annual Resurgence of Lyme Disease
A person can be infected by tick borne Lyme Disease at anytime of the year but it is most prevalent in the summer when more people are exposed to tick bites.
Lyme disease is primarily characterized by fever, headache, fatigue and a skin rash that is red and looks like a bull’s eye. Lyme Disease is not often fatal but can leave a person feeling achy and lethargic among other things. What’s worst is the symptoms of untreated or undiagnosed Lyme disease mimic other diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as well as many other diseases because it has the ability to spread to the joints, heart and nervous systems.
When outdoors in grassy or wooded areas it is best to wear enclosed shoes to prevent ticksfrom attaching themselves on your feet. Also, wear light colored clothing to make seeing ticks easier. Perform tick checks vigilantly and often. Try not to sit directly on the ground to avoid unobstructed contact with ticks and keep long hair tied back. Once you get home do a full bodytick check. Ticks like to migrate to areas such as the folds of skin, inside ear canals and behind knees. Taking a shower may help in ridding the body of crawling ticks but will not be effective in removing ticks that have attached themselves.
Removing attached ticks as soon as they are discovered is important for decreasing the likelihood of Lyme transmission since transmission usually occurs around 48 hours after attachment. There are, however, some do’s and don’t's when it comes to removing ticks. For helpful tips and suggestions from the American Lyme Disease Foundation please follow this link :
There are a few good natural insect repellents you may want to research and give a try. Most use natural oils that tend to repel biting insects and could be a possible non-toxic defense against ticks. Following is a recipe and instructions from herbalist Debra Nuzzi-St. Claire that you may find helpful:
A DIY / NATURAL TICK REPELLANT
* 1/2 ounce citronella oil
* 1/4 ounce lavender oil
* 1/8 ounce pennyroyal oil
* 1/8 ounce tea tree oil
* 1/8 ounce jojoba oil
Do not use this blend undiluted on your skin. For use on the skin, follow these instructions for diluting:
* To make an insect repellent oil that can be used on your body, add 16 ounces of jojoba or almond oil to the base oil mixture and blend thoroughly.
* For an insect repellent spray, add 16 ounces of vodka to the base oil mixture, pour into a spray bottle, and shake before using.
There is no need to shy away from outdoor activities because of the fear of Lyme Disease. Arm yourselves with an ounce of prevention and have a great time!