Five Things You Need To Know For Tick Season!
Tick-Borne Disease Prevention
Tick-Borne Disease prevention is the most important thing you need to know for spring and summer. You can prevent a nightmare of never-ending pain, fatigue, debilitating symptoms, thousands of dollars in medical bills, expensive treatments, side effects from medications, years of inaccurate diagnosis and the emotional stress of doctors not believing you or having no idea what to do with you as a patient. It is the hardest thing I have ever gone through in my life, but it is now my mission to educate others on Tick-Borne Diseases.
Unlike many diseases, this is one can be prevented just by taking simple precautions and learning about Tick-Borne Disease. It's not just Lyme Disease that ticks can transmit. There are many tick-borne illnesses that are as bad, or worse than Lyme. These are just the ones I have heard about: Tick-Borne Diseases: Bartonella, Babesiosis, Enrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Spotted Fever Rickettsia, Anaplasmosis, Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever, Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness, Encephalitis, and Tularemia. A new one was discovered a few months ago called the "Heartland Virus." So far, there is no permanent cure for Tick-Borne Disease!!
As my blood tests indicate, I am infected with Lyme, Babesiosis and clinically diagnosed with Bartonella. It is possible to contract several diseases from ONE tick bite. I wish I had known how dangerous ticks can be and how seemingly impossible it is to eradicate the bacteria from your body if you miss a tick bite or let one go untreated. So if you're reading this, consider yourself warned. Please don't let this warning go ignored.
Here five things you should know:
1. Be AWARE. Just the simple knowledge that most ticks can transmit some form of disease can help you. You will be more aware of your environment, you will keep your eyes open for creepy crawlies on yourself and your kiddos, and you will make sure to keep your pets and yard protected - all year round!
2. During the height of tick season in spring and summer, cover yourself and your clothing in bug repellant if you will be outside. (DEET or permethrin are the best for ticks.) You can also use natural essential oils like Eucalyptus to keep the ticks at bay if you are worried about chemicals. Here are some good tips for using Essential Oils as insect repellant and how to make your own - Natural Insect Repellant. To protect yourself from risk of exposure to Lyme Disease and other Tick-Borne Illnesses, you should avoid areas that are likely infested with ticks like heavily wooded areas or areas with heavy tree and leaf debris. When hiking or camping, wear light-colored clothes so you can easily spot and remove a tick before it becomes attached. Since ticks are close to the ground, tuck your pants into your socks and wear high rubber boots to minimize exposure. It is also a good idea to wear long-sleeved shirts.
3. ALWAYS, always, always do tick checks after being outdoors! I simply cannot stress this enough. I know it seems like a time-consuming annoyance, but it only takes a few seconds and it could save you from a lifetime of pain and misery. If I had known to do this, I may have not gotten this incurable disease. My girls do tick checks as a habit now - even if they have only played outside for a short time. It has become part of our routine - just like brushing our teeth and taking a bath. It's another way they know to take care of themselves. My girls have seen first-hand what this disease can do and I guess that is why they have never questioned the practice. They even make a fun game out of it! Believe me, it is worth the short time it takes!
4. If you do find a tick attached, take my word for it and DO NOT take any chances. Better to be safe than sorry. Learn how to detach and kill the tick the correct way so as to keep it from transmitting the bacteria (click here for instructions). Make sure you save the tick in a zip lock bag in case you start experiencing symptoms. It is far easier to test the tick for disease. The tests for TBD are terribly inaccurate and unreliable. Also, demand a round of antibiotics from your doctor after the tick has been found. For the record, it is inexcusable that doctors have no problem writing prescriptions for years worth of antibiotics for ACNE (!!), but not for a disease that destroys your quality of life and can cause death. I have read far too many testimonials of Lyme sufferers who assumed that since the tick was attached for a short time, they wouldn't get sick. They wound up with Lyme, as well as co-infections and 50+ debilitating symptoms. The CDC and ISDA perpetuates very outdated information. It is your body and your life. You have to be your own advocate. No one else is going to do it for you.
5. Last but not least, know the early signs and symptoms of Tick-Borne Disease! Here are just a few:
- Body/muscle aches
- Joint pain
- Stiff neck
- Facial paralysis
Early symptoms may not be reliable, so your best bet is to immediately get treated if you find a tick attached.
The key to this disease is to fight back with awareness, knowledge and prevention. Enjoy the outdoors this spring and summer with the peace of mind that you are keeping your family safe and healthy!
Here are some important links for Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease prevention. Thanks for reading!
Prevent, Educate, Advocate.