DON’T BE AFRAID, BE AWARE
I share my story and experiences not to scare you, but to empower you to educate yourself and take preventative action. Here are some super simple and easy to apply tips!
#1. Protect Yourself and Family
Wear bug spray to deter ticks. This is the most simple and affordable way to reduce chances of tick bites and illness. Others suggest you tuck in your pants and socks and wear turtlenecks and hazmat suits- but let’s just go with the realistic alternative and wear bug spray. We can all manage that right??
Here is a safe and effective option for the adults, kids, and pets: https://amzn.to/2vYyBVz
#2. Check For Ticks
Kinda a no brainer, but it’s usually the no brainer things that get missed. (Like when the garbage is full and you think your partner would know full garbage = take it out, but they continue to shove stuff in it until you remind them to take it out on their way out the door. This is your reminder because we all need one sometimes: check for ticks.
#3. Check and Treat Your Pets
Pets are common carriers of insects and bugs due to their fur. If you use products like Bravecto- an oral medication for pets, ticks are less likely to be attracted to the animals and therefore less likely to bring them into your home and pass them onto you. One dose lasts three months. Check with your local vet office to see what product options are safe for your dog.
Other alternatives for pets are to use the above bug spray and do routine and in depth brushing. My dog has thick, long, black fur and while ideally it would be nice to find them via brushing, it’s likely going to be hard to find. I actually did a check on her in 2017 after a walk, but later that night I found the tick attached to my stomach. I knew it wasn’t from our walk because it would have been much more engorged so it was likely from her.
#4. If Bitten, Proper Extraction is Crucial
The old hot needle, vaseline, or squeeze method actually causes the tick to shoot out ALL of its toxins into your skin instead of slowly leech them through the natural bite process. There are tick removal tools that prevent this from happening like the one below.
Here is a tool for safe tick removal: https://amzn.to/2W41VbZ
#5. If Bitten, Seek Medical Attention
In the event of a tick bite, the earlier you seek treatment the less likely it will be to affect you long term. Seek immediate medical attention and take the antibiotics ASAP.
Reason being: The infection begins in the bloodstream and this is when it is most effectively treated. Chronic Lyme occurs when the infection is in bones and tissues and not as easily accessible by medications like antibiotics. This is what makes the infection chronic as it is nearly impossible to completely eradicate at this stage.
Early treatment = best chance to eradicate the infection.
If you find or are bitten by a tick or are out in the backcountry, there are home testing kits that check for lyme disease (but not other infections) immediately, here is one: https://amzn.to/2Q2zQwi
PS: Relax and enjoy your time outdoors. Whether you’re radiating yourself from a cellphone or out in nature with insects or driving on the road, risks surround us constantly- it’s part of life, So enjoy yourself and trust that your new knowledge and awareness is all you need and go enjoy!