It’s all over the media – it’s going to be a bad tick season! Before we all panic, let’s talk about them. A tick starts out as a larvae and needs a source of blood to feed and grow. To survive it must find a host to latch onto. Now, a larvae typically does not carry Lyme disease because the bacteria that causes Lyme does not pass from mother tick to the offspring - the tick actually gets infected on its first feeding in its life cycle. Its first host is typically a deer or a rodent which is called a vector. The vector helps spread the disease so after the larvae feeds off its first host, it is now dangerous to people and pets because it could be carrying the Lyme bacteria.
So, what can you do to help yourself and your loved ones during this pesky season?
Prevention is key because of the variety of microbes & general ick that ticks can transfer to the host. My instinct is not to mess around when you have a known tick bite. I would call your Functional Medicine Doctor immediately.
If you find a tick, remove it carefully and make sure you get the entire tick. Put it in a plastic zipped baggie and send it in to be tested. You can use YouTube for tick removal ideas and most public health laboratories and hospitals will test ticks for all infections. The test cost ranges from $25-$50 and you will get the results quickly.
Additionally, it’s beneficial to wear lighter clothing when outdoors in bushy areas so you can see the ticks better. Tuck your pants into your socks, wear a hat, and long sleeves. Use a roller brush after being outside - that brush will attach any ticks to it instead of to you. And don’t forget to check your hair!
Essential oils can also be extremely effective on the skin and clothing with the right choice/combo. Rose geranium, lemon eucalyptus, oregano, and citronella are known to be insect repellants but they need to be mixed in a carrier oil or Google how to make an essential oil tick spray. Ticks hate these essential oils. Personally, I spray shoes/clothing with a strong essential oil solution every time I am hiking, biking or just working outdoors.
Keep in mind that if you get bitten by a tick and see a bullseye, this is usually a result of being infected by the bacteria that causes Lyme. 30% of people get a bullseye rash - it’s generally a hallmark symptom. Just know that most medical doctors are not equipped to treat this. You need a Lyme literate functional medicine practitioner.
As always, education is key, prevention is imperative and early detection may just save your life/years of pain, trauma and misdiagnosis.
If you suspect that you may have Lyme disease please contact our friends at Well-Being by Design. They are the Lyme experts here in Medina. They can be reached at 330.952.0160. Ask for Kim and tell her that Carole sent you!
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