Summer is the time for hiking, gardening, picnics, and simply enjoying the great outdoors. It is also prime tick season—which means increased exposure to the serious infectious diseases they carry.
According to the New York Department of Health, ticks are most active late spring through mid-August.
In 60 to 70 percent of Lyme disease cases*, the first symptom is a rash that occurs at or near the site of a tick bite and has a round, “bulls-eye” appearance. Other symptoms occur from several days to weeks, months, and even years after a bite. They include “flu-like” symptoms, such as aches and pains in muscles and joints, chills and fever, headache, sore throat, stiff neck, swollen glands, dizziness, and fatigue.
How to Diagnose a Tick Bite
Because tick bites are usually painless, the incubation period is long, and the symptoms so varied, a tick-borne disease may go unrecognized for weeks or even months.
Tick-borne disease threat doesn’t end when a victim is bitten. There is some history documenting how an individual exposed to these pathogens can pass them through their blood—including from a pregnant woman to her unborn child.
Tick Prevention & Defensive Measures
Here are some tips to help keep you and your family safe from these tiny threats.
1. There are a number of plants you can cultivate around your yard that repel ticks, including lavender, garlic, pennyroyal, pyrethrum (a type of chrysanthemum), sage, American beautyberry, and eucalyptus.
2. Keep in mind that ticks attach easily to bare flesh. When outdoors, protect yourself and your children by wearing long sleeves and long pants, preferably in light colors so you can spot a tick more easily. Wear shoes and socks that you tuck pant legs into or a pair of tall boots.
3. Your four-legged friend may pick up an unwanted hitchhiker after being outside. Be sure to inspect pets for ticks and they can also become sick with Lyme disease.
4. Shower then perform a whole-body tick check. In the case of Lyme disease, infection from a tick to a human typically takes 30 – 40 hours, so spotting and removing them quickly is an important first defense.
Safe, Natural Treatments
Doctors will often prescribe antibiotics if they suspect Lyme or another tick-borne illness. But there are ways you can assist your body further with some safe, natural treatments.
- Essential fatty acids (for helping to reduce inflammation and joint stiffness)
- Garlic (immune system stimulator with antibiotic properties)
- A natural topical ointment such as Topricin® gives the body the support for its basic function of maintaining healthy cells and repairing damaged ones through enhanced healing
- Kelp (a rich source of B-vitamins and minerals, aids in detoxification)
- Vitamins A, C, and E (antioxidants and immune system support)
- “Green drinks” provide chlorophyll (aids in detoxification while providing important nutrients and enzymes).