It’s hiking season, camping season, turkey hunting season - it is TICK SEASON too!
With folks all over the country heading to the comforts of the woodland country in spring, people and pets often complain of flu-like symptoms, aching joints, painful laziness and a host of other issues a few weeks after returning home. Dogs and cats too, can get a nasty disease known as that has recently Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is contracted from a microscopic bacteria transferred to pets and people from the bite of an infected black-legged tick (also known as deer tick). The largest majority of these ticks are carried about by mice and other rodents, not deer, though deer can also carry them too. The thing to know about today is that May and June are the two months each year when the nymph stage of these ticks transfer from mice to other hosts. They feed for about 24 hours (burrow in and suck blood) and this is when they deposit any possible disease infection they may carry – like Lyme disease.
The nymph stage ticks are nearly invisible - smaller than the head of a straight pin, and their bite is nearly painless. If you have a high pain threshold, you might not even detect it. The tick nymphs will transfer to dogs, pets and people from many places, but the most common is high standing grass or bushes, like when you're hiking in fields or trimming your front bushes.
The nymph critters await their host in a sort of open-leg position and have sensors that await the touch of a possible passing host (your leg, your dog, etc.), then attach like sticky bubblegum to dry paper. Then they climb to soft skin areas and burrow in. These areas can be anywhere, but are often the groin, armpits, back or the nape of your neck.
For people, there is one prevention aid that is lab proven to deter the pests, that is the use of Permethrin (https://sawyer.com/products/permethrin-premium-insect-repellent/) to spray your clothes (not your skin). Spray the open exterior ends of your pants, shirts, exterior of socks and the exterior of your shoes. Let dry. Ticks hate the stuff and will fall off if they should attempt to find your leg. This protection is good for seven washes. Needless to say, wearing shorts and hiking in high grass is not recommended. Sorry. Wear light colored clothing to allow easy visual detection of the dark colored ticks that may opt to attach on your clothes.
For dogs and pets, there is a simple and effective tick and flea formula that is currently on a Facebook page by Cindy Diane (https://www.facebook.com/cinlight2) that uses a combination of the home cupboard ingredients to control the tick and flea pests on pets, though I use it on myself everyday too. Ingredients: 8 oz apple cider vinegar, 4 oz warm water, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda and you’ll need a spray bottle. Mix dry ingredients first, then slowly add to wet as the vinegar and baking soda will react slightly. Put into spray bottle and spray pets down. Be careful not to get in pets eyes and ears. There are additional insights on washing the pets and using this formula, to see them, visit Cindi Diane at the link above.
It’s turkey season, it’s hiking season, it’s camping season, it is tall grass growing season. It is TICK SEASON too.
Lyme disease is a life-long disease if not detected early and identifying this disease is complicated. If you are bitten by a tick and can recover the tick, save it for pathology. Then get to a doctor for clinical evaluation and request doxycycline immediately. Also request a blood test and insist that it be sent to IGeneX Lab in California (http://www.igenex.com/files/should_know.pdf). There is an extra cost for this test and the cost is not covered by many insurance companies. Get whatever the usual tests that your doctor recommends and then also request the IGeneX test. Do yourself a favor and pay for it. The option is not worth the difference!
In my recent experience with Lyme patients, this lab is the one lab that can identify if Lyme is actually present in your system – then you can be properly treated. There are other blood tests that claim they also work, but they are not as reliable from what current Lyme patients have shared with me in interviews directly.
Remember too, ticks carry may other nasty disease pathogens. The best cure is prevention.
Stay aware, stay protected, stay safe!