I'm appalled at the vast amount of misinformation being spread about ticks, tick borne diseases, and lyme! I recently read an article by a mom who claimed to have gotten her info from interviewing an Harvard MD - and the info was all wrong! In fact, I refuted it quickly with a handful of journal articles and the parenting FB page that had posted it removed it and thanked me!
As you all know, I'm not a licensed medical professional. Herbalists aren't licensed in the US. So I don't diagnose or treat diseases. What I do is educate you to make informed choices so you can experience thriving health body, soul, spirit, and in relationship with the earth!
If this information saves just one more person from the rigamarole of seeing 5 docs before an accurated diagnosis (that's the average) and ending up with chronic lyme, organ damage, disability, and so on... I'll be grateful. So I offer this in the hopes that you'll find it informative and use it to dig deeper and arm yourself with knowledge!
Ok... here's the 101 you should know!
1. Never cover a tick or smother it with anything to get it to back out, such as but not limited to alcohol, soapy water, essential oils, or vaseline. Why? Research shows that smothered ticks are more likely to regurgitate blood they've sucked, along with toxins and disease - back into your bloodstream. Yuck! And speaking of tick bites - about 50% of those with lyme will not recall ever being bitten!!
2. Recognize the bull's eye myth! Only about 20% of folks who get Lyme will get a bull's eye rash. You're statisically more likely to be misdiagnosed with depression with Lyme than to have a bull's eye rash.
3. Speaking of which... know the symptoms! I'm not in agreement with everything on this website. (For example, research shows DEET is not safe for 2 year olds!!!) But this is a good list of possible symptoms that demonstrates how lyme has come to be known as "the great imitator"!
4. The idea that a tick must be embedded for 24 hours to transmit disease is FALSE!! Ticks transmit far more than Lyme and some diseases can be transmitted in just 15 minutes. Furthermore, research is suggesting that Lyme can be transmitted in much less than 24 hours as well.
5. Remove ticks with a tick key or carefully with tweezers. Be careful not to squeeze the body and be sure to get the head out.
6. If bitten, a bit of andrographis tincture and green clay or other antibacterial ointment might help prevent infection.
7. Research suggests that taking astragalus from a reputable source such as Oregon's Natural Harvest can help to prevent Lyme disease by boosting your immune system. It might be contraindicated, however, for some folks with Lyme or autoimmune diseases. (See Buhner's books on Lyme for more info.)
8. Research suggests a single dose of doxy might not be prudent as a preventative measure.
9. Advocate for yourself since your MD might be using outdated info. This link to International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) is very informative in understanding why there are so many misdiagnosis!
10. The Western Blot is the most accurate Lyme test covered by insurance but gives a false negative in a large percentage - up to 50% - of Lyme cases. A Lyme diagnosis should be a clinical decision, based on a variety of symptoms not just tests, and made by a fully Lyme-literate doctor who also tests for other tick borne diseases.
11. Read Buhner's books on Lyme and coinfections. Knowledge is power! Some folks choose herbs (available in easy-to-use capsules from Green Dragon Botanicals) if they think they have Lyme - rather than waiting for a diagnosis. The longer Lyme goes untreated, the more dangerous it becomes.
12. Think about tick prevention: wear light colored clothing tucked into socks; do tick checks. Consider making a repellant made with apple cider vinegar (ACV) and geranium essential oil. Some folks choose permethrin as a repellent thinking it's 100% safe. It's not. But is it safer than risk of tick disease? That's something for you to research and be the judge of. Personally, I believe we have tick issues due to environmental issues and imbalances; so I believe that using permethrin or other pesticides that harm bees and pollinators (permethrin kills them also) and contaminates water is only going to further harm the environment and exacerbate the problem. That said, I get why people feel comfortable with permethrin. It's a personal choice. As for DEET - that's super dangerous so please don't go there!
Getting out into nature is so beneficial to our mental, emotional, and spiritual health (if you're a research junkie go to the "research" tab here on my website and check out my lit review on ecopsych). Ticks are vile insects - out of control due to environmental imbalances. I hope this info helps you to feel more comfortable in navigating this issue in a way that makes you feel confident and safe! ❤️