Tick-Borne Disease prevention is the most important thing you should 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 you can hopefully prevent just by taking simple precautions and educating yourself on 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. Here is a list of the most common 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.” There is no permanent cure for Tick-Borne Disease!!
As my blood tests indicate thus far, I am infected with Lyme, Bartonella and Babesiosis. It is possible to contract several diseases from ONE tick bite. One of the most awful parts of having this disease is the knowledge that I probably could have prevented these diseases, had I only been aware of the facts. I wish I had known how dangerous ticks can be and how seemingly impossible it is to eradicate the bacteria from your body. So, if you’re reading this, consider yourself warned. Please don’t let this information go ignored.
Here are my top five things you should know to prevent Tick-Borne Disease:
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! Do a search online for “diatomaceous earth” – it’s natural and it will keep your yard free from ticks!
2. During the height of tick season in spring and summer, cover yourself and your clothing in bug repellant (DEET or permethrin) while you or your loved ones are outside. You can even use natural essential oils like Eucalyptus to keep the ticks at bay. Here are some good tips for using Essential Oils – 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. When hiking or camping, wear light-colored clothes and long-sleeved shirts, 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.
3. ALWAYS, always, always do tick checks after being outdoors! I simply cannot stress this enough. I know it sounds 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 our routine tick checks. 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 easier to test the tick for disease. The tests for Lyme and co-infections for humans 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. 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
Many people suffering from Tick-Borne Disease did not have any early symptoms. You may be perfectly fine one day and the very next, unable to walk. Every case is unique because of how the bacteria affects each person differently, but the eventual later stage symptoms are similar – severe fatigue, joint pain/inflammation, IBS issues and neurological problems to name a few. Early symptoms may not be reliable, so your best bet is to immediately get treated if you find a tick attached so your risk of contracting chronic Lyme disease is diminished.
The key to this disease is to fight back with awareness, knowledge and prevention. You can still enjoy the outdoors and have a fun summer, if you take these precautions. In doing so, you will have the peace of mind that you are keeping your family safe and healthy!
These are my favorite links on Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease prevention. Thanks for reading!
Prevent, Educate, Advocate.