Better Health / Tick-Talk / Tourism

Prepare for tick season : How to avert Lyme Disease

By MAGGIE M, Editor, the wedge.LIVE

Tick season is about to begin again, late Spring. Why is this story so important? The number of people this writer has come across–here in our own backyard–diagnosed with Lyme Disease, in just a few towns, reveals much. I have even met the widow of a man who died of Lyme last year–so it can be fatal if your immune compromised or have suffered for some time. Quality of life is so important–even if you are young and healthy.

Among notables who suffer from this tick-borne disease, our own Avril Lavigne. Like many, she was dismissed by doctors. She shared her experience tearfully on a television broadcast.

People who suffer from Lyme are in extreme pain among many symptoms. They tend to be bed-ridden, unable to do mundane tasks. They need care.

Early signs of a tick bite are a red rash–it may not be the standard red target rash we hear of. You will have joint pain, headaches and a fever, fairly quickly. Trust your own instincts when visiting doctors–make that visit promptly.

Several people I met who were bitten by ticks and recovered quickly reported they were diagnosed by doctors aware of this disease. Many doctors misdiagnose the symptoms. The victims have repeatedly said this. The doctors who are aware, administer antibiotics for an extended period. Canada has an unimpressive record here; however, the Health Units in Ontario are now vigilant, communicating to them without cease. If you encounter resistance contact them for help.

Not all ticks carry pathogens I have read; but, don’t let this lessen your vigilance. And don’t let it paralyze you! If this story saves one person, it was worth it.

Here is how you can avoid being the victim of this tiny arachnid carrying multiple pathogens. First, know that it is not just piggy-backing on deer. All mammals are able to carry ticks–even your domestic pets. The most common are mice, squirrels and birds. This portends that no grounds are off the table, even in the suburbs.

The heaviest concentrations of ticks would be in heavy foliage, moist and shaded areas. Ticks don’t do well in the sun.

There are three species in North America. Here in Ontario, the government of Canada reports the blacklegged tick is the most identified specie. Read their website page here for locations and activities most at risk.

Three tick species and their size at different stages of life.

Don’t expect to feel a tick bite because they actually numb their host. You will not feel a tick; but, you can see it.

Now, that you have a basic introduction, here are critical steps you can take to prevent health challenges from ticks.

  1. TICK PREVENTION ATTIRE : Wear long socks over long pant legs–it’s a hot new look! Ticks love soft spots like the back of knees and groins. If you do not create a barrier they will crawl up and you will not feel or see them. Sandals are best for the beach, the boat or concrete walks–not walks in the forests or wild environments. Yes, that includes camping grounds. US camping grounds are now posting metal signs warning visitors of ticks–fertile areas for ticks across North America. Wear light colored clothing, from top to bottom, so you can see them. Pull your hair back or tuck it in. They are like Tarzan clinging to a vine. If it’s not too hot wear a cotton scarf. Tuck in your clothes so there is a barrier to your flesh. Tuck in shirts too. Wear a light colored brimmed hat for extra measure. It is hard to spot them on your head or in you hair.
  2. REMOVAL : Carry tweezers at all times in these environments. Remove them nearest to the point of entry if they are bored in. There may be special tweezers for ticks in hunting and pet stores. Do NOT light a match to kill them-this will leave parts in your skin and burn you. Gentle extraction is best. In the container one goes–the rest I would drown in bleached water then flush.
  3. PETS : Check your pets as they come in. Ticks seem to love the underside of their ears. Again, pick them off with tweezers close to the bite. Do not use your hands. These ticks can hop off your pets and onto any human nearby.
  4. TICK TESTING : You will not be able to have them tested any longer; but, it may come in handy to assess how long the tick has been feeding. If the tick is bloated it may have been there longer than 24 hours. After you as you remove the tick, see your practitioner. Up to 80% carry powerful pathogens triggering Lyme Disease.
  5. SPOTTING – LIFE CYCLE : The greatest feeding time is when they are nymphs i.e. young and the smallest size. They may look like a black poppy seed. The largest are as big as a sesame seed. Males die after a bite. Females lay many, many eggs (it looks like caviar.)
  6. CHECKING : Have a hand held mirror handy to check yourself well if you do not have another pair of eyes. It may take you 10 minutes–time well spent!
  7. BE SURE : Take a shower when you come in AND  put the clothes you were wearing into the dryer at high heat–they die from the heat.
  8. YOUR PROPERTY : Mow your lawns, and cut back brush, plants from walkways where they hang around on tall plants waiting to aero-plane onto a host. Edging with dry cedar chips will deter them; but, they do crawl and find hosts like mice, squirrels… Be vigilant.
  9. REPELLENT : Cover yourself with a pest repellent. Doctors don’t like DEET as it is toxic. Try natural repellents. Cinnamon leaf oil and oil of lemon eucalyptus are reported by doctors as more effective than DEET. You can make you own mixture in a spray bottle. * There is a growing consensus that mosquitoes may also carry these pathogens. If this can be corroborated, all the more reason to cover up and use repellents. I found Dr. Mercola’s page very helpful here : https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/05/25/natural-insect-repellents.aspx

ANECDOTES:

  1. Do you know why it is called Lyme Disease? Because the first identification of the ticks carrying myriad pathogens was in the town of Lyme, Connecticut. Story here : https://health.usnews.com/health-conditions/infectious-diseases/lyme-disease/overview
  2. Lyme is on mainland US, app. 20 kms from Plum Island where a disease laboratory was conducting bio-warfare experiments with ticks since the 40s and 50s. That’s very close–way too close.

FOR THOSE WITH LYME DISEASE:

This story isn’t helpful for those already afflicted. That will be the next story. Lyme is very complex and the last thing you need is a post from a “cowboy.” My heart aches for all of you–this is the impetus for this prevention story.

Lyme should likely be declared an epidemic. It surely must be supported by Canada with reliable testing–as the tests have proven unreliable, only 15% often quoted as reliable. Many have obtained tests from U.S. for reliable results (I have heard this again and again.)

Doctors must be educated on this serious disease–its many pathogens, their biofilms and vectors. OHIP must cover testing and clinical care. Patients are often diagnosed with sudden arthritis or MS, ALS, etc… Often they are told, “it’s all in your head.” (Boy, they are right on that as the pathogens make their way to the brain.)

Antibiotics must be prescribed for the right length of time–7 to 10 days is way too short, the consensus declares. And…independent research must be funded with a sense of emergency! Fund raising to find a way to destroy these pathogens is tardy.

Here are a few videos from doctors researching Lyme:

Dr. Alan MacDonald, “The Biology of Lyme Disease” : https://youtu.be/r8tESJVvM88

Dr. Eva Sapi, “Bacterial Biofilms and Lyme Disease” : https://youtu.be/AmvgOfIN_8c

Support groups have formed here in East Ontario with hundreds attending. I will attend the next to learn from their experiences.

Your comments are welcome.