Summertime = Tick Time- Prevention and Tips

It’s summer, which means outdoor play, gardening, hiking, kids at camp and...ticks.  

This is the time when I start getting lots of phone calls and text messages about tick prevention and or what to do in the event of a tick bite.

A few years ago, I didn’t pay much attention to the whole tick prevention thing.  

That all changed about 3+ years ago when I became very ill with what I came to find out was Lyme Disease. Since then Lyme Disease and other tick borne illnesses have become an epidemic.

You probably know at least one person with Lyme Disease today.

I sent my youngest son Jack off to day camp on Monday.  They are pretty much in the woods of Maine all day long for a week.

He has done this camp before, but with this season being reported as the worst for ticks we have seen thus far, I started to worry… a LOT.  I went back and forth on this for weeks.  “Do I pull him from camp?” “Do I let him go?”  

I reminded myself of the time when I said I wasn’t going to stop myself or my family from doing the things we loved in fear of getting a tick bite. I wasn’t going to not let my kids get out in nature.  Nature truly is medicine.

So now we take preventive measures when we know we are going to be in areas where ticks like to hang out.

Here are some tips for tick prevention:

1. Repel the little critters
I am always seeking out safe, natural and effective alternatives.  

doTerra’s Terrashield checks the box.  It’s a wonderful smelling essential oil blend that is very effective, non-toxic insect and tick repellent.

2. Be vigilant at home
Check yourself and your kids when you come in from outside. Head to toe.

3. Check your dog
Though American dog ticks don’t typically harbour diseases that make people sick, ticks can hitch hike on a pet into the home.  So if you are a pet owner, check your pets  as soon as they come in from outside.

4. Cover up
Covering up can prevent ticks from latching on.  However, wearing long sleeves + pants during peak tick season may not be realistic or all that comfortable as the temps rise. So other preventive measures may be more useful.

5. Quick dry clothing
Ticks are vulnerable to drying out. The little hitchhiker can be killed by giving your clothes a quick whirl in the dryer on high heat for 5 mins.  Even if you have to wash your clothes, but you can’t quite get to it at that moment, don’t throw your clothes in the “to be washed pile.” It’s best to throw them in for a quick dry. 

6. Shower up
After “high risk” activities you should shower immediately.  Strip down and do a tick inspection in the shower. It’s good to get in this habit, because you have a better chance of finding any biting ticks before they have transmitted the disease. 

7. Removing ticks
In the event that you do find a tick on you, first things first, don’t panic!

  • Remove the tick immediately with tweezers or a tick removal tool. Do not twist.  Start at the head of the tick.  If using fingers, wash hands immediately.

  • Do not use vaseline, essential oils or anything else to help in removing the tick.  This could cause the tick to inject the spirochetes into the wound site.

  • Save the tick in a jar. Label with the date and area where you were you bitten.  You may bring to your doctor or send out to company to have it tested to see if it harbors any diseases.  

  • Apply oregano oil to the area.  Oregano acts as a topical antimicrobial.  Oregano is a hot oil, so for those with sensitive skin, dilution with a carrier oil is recommended.

  • Follow with lavender oil. 1 drop every 5 minutes for 30 minutes.  Lavender is an antiseptic and has anti-infectious properties.  

  • Lastly, keep a close eye on the site.  If you notice any changes, such as a rash or start to experience any flu-like symptoms, get into see you doctor.   

Summer time is short up here in NH.  We soak up every bit of summer and all the outdoor fun that comes with it.   

It is a very real reality that these tiny pests can wreak havoc. Taking precautions and doing our part does give me peace of mind. And I hope that it will give that to you as well.  

Happy Summer!