Preventing Tick Bites
Amber Belt, ND
Since moving back to the Midwest, everyone at Sage Sirona is becoming reacquainted with ticks. Gross, right?
Ticks weren’t an element we had to deal with in Northern Arizona, but they are everywhere in Northeastern Kansas! Let’s take a few minutes and talk about what ticks carry and how to prevent tick bites.
Why are we worried about tick bites?
Ticks carry disease, that’s why! Some common diseases that ticks carry are Lyme Disease (borrelia burgdorferi), Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, babesiosis, erlichiosis, anaplasmosis, tularemia, red meat allergy, and other diseases. I’m not going to dive into the symptoms of each of these diseases in this article, but they can have serious health consequences if not identified and treated as soon as possible.
What if I get bit?
If you do get bit, you can send your tick in to get tested for tick-borne diseases. I’ve used both TickCheck and IgeneX Labs to have ticks that have been attached to myself or a loved one. The turnaround is fairly quick and there’s peace of mind in knowing they don’t find any diseases in the tick that bit you.
If myself, a patient, or someone I know gets a tick bite, I will have them monitor the site of the bite closely for a bullseye rash. I will also either start them on antibacterial, immune-boosting herbs or have them start doxycycline (an antibiotic). These steps might prevent major health issues in the future. I will either treat for 60 days or until their tick comes back with no diseases.
How do I get tested?
You can get tested through any conventional lab for some tick-borne diseases. Unfortunately, however, in order to get more accurate results you may need testing from a specialty lab. Specialty labs such as IgeneX Labs and Vibrant Wellness can give more complete and accurate results about tick-borne diseases, but it’s likely that you will need to find a naturopathic or functional medicine provider to order these labs. You will also probably have to pay cash for this testing.
How do I prevent getting bit?
There are many strategies to try if you don’t want to get a tick bite! I prefer to use more than one method at a time to keep the little nasties away as best I can.
Physical barrier. Wearing a hat, long sleeves, pants, and boots are a good start. And it might look uncool, but tucking pants into tall socks is a good way to stop ticks from getting into your shoes and biting your feet and ankles.
Wondercide. Wondercide is a fantastic tick-deterrent product that is natural and uses essential oils to deter ticks. Wondercide products can be used on you, your pets, and in your yard. You don’t have to be concerned about the toxicity from conventional bug sprays with Wondercide! I love the peppermint for summertime because of its cooling properties.
Homemade tick spray. If you want to make your own tick deterrent spray, you can do it! If you click here, you can access our free Tick Repellant Spray handout.
Unconventional methods. If you start poking around online, you’ll find some unconventional methods of preventing tick bites. Take a look at these and use with caution! I found several people who wear flea and tick collars around their ankles to prevent bites. I can’t speak to the safety of this. I wanted to mention this method because I think it could work, but you would need to do your own research into the safety of methods like these.
I hope you find this information helpful! Prevention is the way to go when it comes to tick bites. Good luck out there this summer!
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Remember that this article is not medical advice and is for educational purposes. Dr.Belt is a doctor, but she is not YOUR doctor and doesn’t have a doctor-patient relationship with readers of this article. Consult your own medical professional for individualized advice.