During this time of flu, Covid 19, weather changes, and environmental changes, it is important to add Lyme disease prevention to the prevention methods we are already practicing.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a bacteriophage known as Borrelia Burgdorferii or 9 other Borrelia species. It is well known for its ability to start as a bacterium then morph into a virus. It is a chameleon; ever changing to adapt and extremely hard to be rid of if not diagnosed quickly and treated.
How Does One Get Lyme Disease?
How Lyme disease and other co infections are contracted is by being bitten by vectors. It is also transmittable through sex and congenital.
Lyme disease is known as the Great Imitator as seen below:
- ARTHRITIS, Juvenile
- Arthritis, Rheumatoid
- Bell’s Palsy
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Dilated Cardiomyopathy
- Epstein-Barr Virus
- Ongoing Allergy/ Sinus Issues
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- Respiratory Problems
- Unexpected Weight Loss/ Gain
How To Be Protected From Lyme!
Here is a simple list of things to do to be protected from bites during the year:
1. Know what bugs carry Lyme!
- Many Nine species of ticks
- Six species of Mosquitoes
- 14 species of mites
- 15 species of flies
- 2 species of Fleas
- animals and birds can carry ticks to local areas
2. Wear bright colors. Ticks are seen better against a white or bright background.
3. Treat clothes with permethrin or purchase clothes from companies who have pretreated the clothing. Do this before going somewhere outdoors or away for a camping trip. Spray clothes and hang them to dry and this will last for about 4-5 washes. Proven repellents for clothing are: Sawyer.
4. Wear head covering. Wear pants with the bottoms tucked into socks. Wear shoes. The old cammo with boots look can be fashionable.
5. When outdoors, stay on paths and do not stray in tall grasses. Avoid woodpiles and exploring bushes.
6. It is advised to wear a favorite bug repellant or make a homemade repellant out of lemongrass and eucalyptus oils with water and put in a spray bottle. Wearing cedar wood oil is good also, but the verdict is mixed on that. Many recipes are online. Proven to be safe is Picaridin by Sawyer for skin.
7. When returning home from an event, do a tick check and be sure to take extra care to check places like underarms, behind the knees, area where legs meet the torso or otherwise known as personal areas. Ticks love dark, humid and hair. Check twice and get a good shower. If possible, have a buddy to do a check with.
8. If a tick is found, put it in a small Ziplock snack bag with a wet piece of paper towel. Make it is labelled with name, date, and location. Send to either ticknology.com or tickcheck.com to get tested. Have a copy of the testing paperwork available for a doctor, if needed.
9. Call a doctor if there is a fever, feel the flu is coming on or get a rash. Know what the ticks look like.
10. To create a safer environment around your home, create small tick traps in your yard. Take an empty toilet paper roll and fill with a cotton ball. Spray and soak the cotton with Permethrin. Put these rolls when done around your yard in safe laces so pets cannot get in them. These will attract mice that carry ticks into them as they like to nest in the rolls. This will kill the ticks and clear up a small percentage of the ticks who live in your yard.
In conclusion, it is easy to not get Lyme disease if you use prevention. Prevention is the best medicine! Life can be fun and even getting ready with a little preparation can make the adventure last a long time!
For more information and fun classes and school curriculum, contact LEAF at theleafprogram.org.
By: Christina Murphy, CHC, AADP