Lyme Disease Prevention: What to Know About Ticks

how to prevent ticks

Disclaimer: This is one mom’s experience with Lyme’s Disease and what she has found to work for tick prevention. This is not medical advice; please see your doctor if you have concerns or questions regarding Lyme Disease. 

Lyme Disease is a very real and very frightening situation that can impact a person’s whole life. 

I woke up one day in April 2019 to find my right foot was numb and what felt like “brain fog.”  I brushed it off as a result of a weekend with the girls and high heels. Weeks went by, the numbing spread, tingling began, my vision changed, and my health drastically deteriorated. All I could do was lay in bed, unable to work.

My soon-to-be husband was running the show with our 2 kiddos, and I postponed our wedding. Finally, after much suspicion and research, a naturopath diagnosed me with Lyme Disease. I was scared. What would happen now? How do we treat this? Would I ever be the same? 

After much research and getting all the facts, I was determined to get better and thankfully I had a lot of support from family and friends. Lyme Disease can effect each person so very differently. There are also many different co-infections that can be associated with Lyme Disease that could be the cause of symptoms as well. This is where finding the best practitioner will help in diagnosis.

Some will have mild symptoms, some will have years of misdiagnosis, and some (like me) will have a quick breakdown, usually occurring from stress (my work, wedding coming up, and I recently did a liver cleanse right before my symptoms began). But YES, you can be better; YES, you can get back to normal self; and YES it may take time, resilience, and determination.

HOW DO I PREVENT TICKS?

In short, you don’t (at least not entirely). They are everywhere. They are right in our backyards in the FM area, believe it or not. My best advice is don’t be scared, but be reasonable and take precautions. Lyme disease is a big deal, but we also have to live our lives. 

As a mom now, I check my children after every outing and before bed. We jump in the bath or shower and do full body checks. We comb through hair, we look in ears, and check all the skin folds. My husband has been an avid hunter, fishermen, outdoors man his whole life and he never once even thought more about pulling a tick right off of him, but after seeing me at my worst, he is completely on board with the checks of each other and the kids.

PREVENTION PRODUCTS

Permethrin repellent: This can be used for best defense but is NOT PUT ON THE SKIN.  Spray this on all your belongs, tents, clothes, AND anything that will be outside for an extended amount of time. This can be sprayed on articles of clothing and lasts through 6 washes. This will kill ticks as well as protect against other insects. It is safe for humans and dogs. However, it is lethal to cats and fish so do not dispose of down the drain.  

Natural or homemade repellents: Essential oils are great in this department as they are the healthiest and safest means to repel or prevent ticks. Lavender, Citronella, Lemon Grass, and Peppermint are some of the most recommend oils to mix with either water or witch hazel and can be sprayed directly on the skin. These will not kill ticks, but can deter them from climbing on you, as well as repel mosquitoes. 

DEET: This helps to prevent ticks, mosquitoes and other bugs from landing on you in the first place. However, there are mixed reviews on how “healthy” this repellent is overall for the body system. Of course, take caution in all repellents you decide to use.

PREVENTION AROUND THE HOME

  • Planting lavender, lemon grass, or even rosemary have been known to help keep bugs and ticks away. This can help in long-term prevention as well as make the area smell better!
  • Keep grass cut short and avoid the tall grasses. 
  • Stay out of wet areas in the grass and woods.
  • Chickens and guinea hens are known to eat ticks to lower the overall numbers. Some areas of town even allow for these animals! 

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS 

  1. You DON’T HAVE TO GET A BULLSEYE RASH TO HAVE LYME.  Roughly only 40% of those that have Lyme Disease recall a tick bite.
  2. Initially, sickness can present like a stomach and/or respiratory flu. Fever, rashes, nausea, sweats, and more can occur a few days to a week after an initial bite. Having these symptoms in the summer time are more unusual as well.
  3. Unexplained weight loss or gain
  4. In children, you may see pains in joints or waking up with random pain (such as in their foot).
  5. Facial palsy, again more common in children
  6. Autoimmune type diseases may be diagnosed, such as Thyroid Disease, ALS, MS and more.
  7. Anxiety
  8. Ear ringing (tinitis)
  9. Balance issues
  10. Memory problems
  11. Swollen Lymph Nodes
  12. Extreme fatigue
  13. New reactions to foods or allergies

All these signs and symptoms are common for many other diseases, so it’s best to speak with a versed practitioner in Lyme Disease (such as International Lyme and Disease Society (ILADS), a Naturopath, or a Lyme Literate MD). 

100% PREVENTABLE

Aimee Goodwin from New Hope Healing and Resource Center states, “Chronic Lyme is 100% preventable and aside from sprays and permethrin, the biggest and easiest thing to to is just check. Check when your done with your activities and check before you go to bed. If you miss something the first time, likely you will find it the second time. If you find a tick, and it has bitten you, know the facts (how to remove, to keep the tick and send for testing, and how to identify the tick and what to watch for) and go to the experts for treatment.” 

New Hope is a facility in Alexandria, MN that is designed to help you get answers, recover, and heal fully from Lyme Disease. Treatment by a trained professional will best help you to get diagnosed, treated rapidly, and recovery from Lyme Disease. 

In my personal and professional opinion, Lyme Disease is a very serious condition that is widely overlooked. It can drastically change a persons life and affect them for many years (or a lifetime) if not taking seriously. The right treatment (which may be different for each person), needs to happen ASAP and to find the best practitioner may take doing your own research. New Hope is the closest treatment facility to our area. Lymestop or Erlandson Family Chiropractic are other options, but are located our of state.

Naturopathic doctors are a great resource, as that was how I finally was diagnosed.  A great start in the right direction!  Good luck and stay safe!

Other Resources:

Fargo-Moorhead Lyme Disease Support Group

Lyme Disease Support & Wellness Group

Tick Boot Camp

 

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Dr. Victoria was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI and fell in love with a Minnesota boy, Christopher. They recently married in the summer of 2019 and they have two wonderful boys, Nicholas (2013) and Theodore (2016) and baby girl Josette showed up May 2020. Victoria has worked as a Chiropractor for nearly 10 years now and she has opened up the first and only unlimited, membership-based Chiropractic clinic in the Fargo-Moorhead area in 2019. She is ecstatic to help those search out, reach, and maintain their health and wellness goals. In her spare time she mentors with Biogirls, a local nonprofit that encourages and builds confidence and healthy self-esteem in young girls. She is also working towards a Nutritional Diplomate in Chiropractic to better serve her community in health. Outside of these ventures, she spends time with her family camping, taking in the local parks, and dates with her husband usually involve fishing. Follow her on her website Victory Chiropractic & Wellness, Instagram, Facebook, or her blog to follow along on her journey in helping people maintain health and wellness.

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