Although ticks can be spotted year-round, spring and summer are the more prevalent times to encounter ticks. Getting a tick bite can cause a bullseye rash, and an infected tick bite can cause Lyme disease.
Many people can develop signs and symptoms ranging from three to 30 days after transmission. Untreated Lyme disease can spread to the heart, joints, and nervous system. If you want to enjoy your outdoor season without fear of contracting Lyme disease, here are some preventable ways to avoid tick bites.
Has a tick bitten you? Schedule a visit for a consultation.
What Is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can first cause flu-like symptoms like fever, headaches, achiness, sore throat, and fatigue. However, the symptoms can last longer than the regular flu. Typical flu symptoms like a runny nose, diarrhea, or coughing aren’t usually seen with Lyme disease.
However, Lyme disease can also include dizziness, shortness of breath, numbness in limbs, nerve pain, or facial paralysis. Lyme disease can typically go through three stages:
- Acute First Stage: The first stage can last one to four weeks with typical flu-like symptoms.
- Early Disseminate Second Stage: The second stage can last from one to four months with symptoms like memory or concentration problems, pain, weakness, numbness in arms and legs, facial paralysis, and heart palpitations.
- Late Persistent Stage: Some may experience long-term medical problems like arthritis, facial paralysis, memory and mood issues, sleep issues, heart problems, and even difficulty speaking if left untreated.
The easiest way to tell if you’ve contracted Lyme disease is to get tested and diagnosed; then treatments can begin.
How to Avoid Tick Bites
It’s important when you choose your outdoor activities for spring and summer to consider a few preventive measures that can be taken to avoid getting bit by a tick. They live in grassy, bushy, or wooded areas. This can become an issue when trying to do your hobbies such as camping, gardening, or hunting.
Preventing Tick Bites on People
As you’re out in your yard or somewhere doing a fun outdoor activity, wearing the proper clothing or gear can help avoid tick bites. You can treat your clothing or gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Treatments can be done on boots, clothing, and camping gear. It will stay on for several washes, or you can buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
Using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)- registered insect repellents can also be a helpful tool for warding off ticks. Be cautious not to use products containing OLE or PMD on children under three years old.
An easy way to prevent contact with ticks could also be avoiding wooded or bushy areas with high grass or leaf litter. If you’re hiking, it’s a good idea to stay in the center of the trail to avoid contact with vegetation that could have ticks.
When you return indoors, closely inspect your clothes for ticks. They can be easily carried into the house on clothing and should be removed immediately. Tumble drying your clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes can kill ticks after coming indoors. Use hot water if your clothes need to be washed first.
Showering within two hours of coming indoors reduces the risks of getting Lyme disease by allowing a thorough tick check. Make sure to check these areas on you or your child’s body:
- In and around the ears
- In and around the hair
- Inside belly button
- Around the waist
- Under the arms
- Back of the knees
- Between the legs
Ready to solve your Lyme disease healthily? Contact us for a consultation with Dr. Ridinger.
Preventing Ticks on Your Pets
Dogs are susceptible to tick bites and tickborne diseases. It’s easy for ticks to hitch a ride on your pets and into your home.
Cats are extremely sensitive to various chemicals, so it’s essential to speak with your veterinarian before using tick prevention products.
You can treat your dogs with oral medications, shampoo, tick dips, collars, powders, and sprays. Before your dog comes inside, make sure to check the following spots for ticks:
- In and around the ears
- Around the eyelids
- Under the collar
- Under the front legs
- Between the back legs
- Around the tail
You can also consider limiting your dog’s outside time during spring and summer so there are not extended periods where ticks can attach to them. Treating your house and lawn is another effective way to help you and your pets avoid ticks.
Preventing Ticks in the Yard
An easy way to protect your home, pets, and family is to landscape your yard. Ticks are attracted to taller grass and brush areas, so it can help to trim or clear foliage around homes and the edges of lawns .
Mowing the lawn and raking leaves frequently can help prevent ticks in common areas of the yard. It is also a good idea to place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel around patios or play equipment if they’re near lawns or wooded areas to prevent tick migration. Storing playground, deck, and patio equipment away in a sunny area from edges or trees is also helpful.
Removing any old furniture, mattresses, or trash from the yard will keep the ticks from using those areas as a place to hide. Since ticks feed on rodents, it’s a good idea to store wood neatly in a dry area to prevent rodents from inhabiting that area.
Lyme Disease Treatment
Since the flu has similar symptoms, sometimes Lyme disease can be wrongly diagnosed. If you get bitten by a tick and start to show signs of Lyme disease, you need to get tested and treat the disease in its early stages.
The most common way to treat Lyme disease is through antibiotics. However, at Premier Health and Holistic Medicine, Dr. Robin Ridinger takes a holistic approach to LD treatment. She addresses the overall health of your entire body and the interactions of all your bodily systems.
Dr. Ridinger will make an individual treatment plan customized to your needs. Some approaches that she may take might include:
- Diet and supplements
- Thyroid replacement therapy
- Adrenal support
- Bioidentical hormones
- Herbal therapies
- Antibiotics or antifungals if needed
If your treatment plan includes diet and supplements, this is a natural way that your body can detoxify without possibly adding wrong medications that could introduce new toxins to your body. Similarly, because fatigue is often related to hormone deficiency, it’s a good idea to bring your body back to optimal hormone levels. Once your hormones have reached their best level, you may see your symptoms significantly reduce.
Although holistic doctors prefer natural treatments, there are instances where an antibiotic or antifungal is required. Dr. Ridinger will prescribe them to you and monitor the result to ensure a healthy recovery.
If your flu-like symptoms persist for more than a week or a tick has bitten you, it’s crucial to seek care. Seeking treatment is essential for preventing worsening symptoms in the later stages of Lyme disease.
Would you like to find out more about chronic fatigue and Lyme disease? Contact us to get the info you need.