Lyme disease currently affects about 3 million people in the US, with more than 300,000 new cases per year. Lyme disease can be tricky to diagnose because it has many symptoms in common with a wide range of health issues. In fact it is said to have its Spirochete bacteria in 300 different diseases.
Lyme and ticks
Lyme is a bacterium said to spread through the bite of ticks and other insects. The black-legged tick (also referred to as the deer tick) Western black-legged tick, and the Lone Star tick are the most common carriers. Ticks feed on the blood of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. The bacteria that causes Lyme can be picked up from rodents, deer, rabbits and so on. In the US, the most common strain of bacteria is Borrelia burgdorferi.
Ticks live in cool northern latitude all over the world. In the US, it is most common in the Northeastern states. The disease takes its name from Lyme, Connecticut, where a growing number of similar cases prompted doctors to start investigating possible causes for the disease.
How ticks infect you
Ticks lurk in the woods and in tall grass. Those who wear shorts or skirts outdoors in the woods are particularly vulnerable. Ticks infect people by attaching to any part of the human body. They are often found in hard-to-see areas such as the backs of the legs, groin, armpits, back, and scalp.
If a tick is only on the body a short amount of time, it should not be an issue. However, if it remains attached for a day or 2, the Lyme disease bacteria can be transmitted through its mouth parts into the blood stream.
If you have pets who go outside into grassy areas, they are also susceptible to ticks. They may not get sick themselves from Lyme (though it does happen), but the tick can transfer onto you, especially if you sleep with your pet or they hang out with you on your furniture.
Lyme is most common in the spring and summer when the weather improves and people spend more time outdoors. Lyme can be transmitted by both baby (nymph) and adult ticks. Nymphs are a lot smaller and harder to see compared with an adult tick, and can, therefore, pose more danger. A nymph is about the size of a poppy seed and an adult about the size of a white sesame seed. When they engorge with blood, they can become up to 10 times larger than their usual size.
Can you get Lyme in other ways?
Lyme is also transmitted from person to person, or through sexual contact. Lyme can affect an unborn baby and result in stillbirth, but in most cases, MMS (Chlorine Dioxide) treatment is effective in protecting mother and baby.
Since Lyme can remain active in the blood, the muscles, the bones those who have had Lyme should not donate any blood.
Protecting your pets with flea and tick prevention such as Frontline each month, plus a tick collar if you live in northern latitudes, should discourage tick ‘hitchhikers’ and infestation. Keep long-haired breeds cut short and bathe them regularly. Dog shampoo and water will usually do the trick, but you might also want to use flea and tick shampoo.
If your dog has Lyme disease and licks your baby the bacteria may pass to the child.
Hunting and skinning deer or other wild animals such as squirrels may bring you into close contact with animal blood which has been in contact with infected ticks, who can transfer onto you.
In addition to ticks, there is some indication that Lyme could be transmitted by mosquitoes, fleas, or lice, but the lion’s share of cases is from the 3 ticks mentioned above.
Prevention is the best cure. Use essential oil insect repellent, and wear long sleeves and long pants when going out in the woods. Tuck the pants into your socks to prevent ticks from getting up the pant legs.
Water-Based Version of a Natural Tick Repellent
- 2 oz. apple cider vinegar, witch hazel or vodka (For info on sourcing non-GMO vodka check out my post on how to make vanilla extract)
- 2 oz. water
- 20-40 drops of either geranium bourbon essential oil, citronella essential oil, lemon eucalyptus essential oil, or catnip essential oil (Or a mixture of any of these essential oils as long as the total amount used is 20-40 drops. I don’t personally recommend catnip because it doesn’t smell awesome.)
- Optional – 1/2 teaspoon glycerin to help the scent last longer
Essential oil tick repellent recipe for humans
- ½ cup distilled water
- 6-8 drops of citronella, or lemongrass or eucalyptus essential oils
- 1 drop of Castile soap
Spray directly on skin and clothes before going outdoors.
Natural tick repellent with tea tree oil for humans
Tea tree oil is an excellent bug repellent. In this recipe, you use white vinegar and water with a few drops of tea tree essential oil. Never apply tea tree essential oil directly to the skin as it could cause an allergic reaction, particularly if the oil is highly concentrated. Mix the oil in some carrier oil like sweet almond oil to dilute it a bit.
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 1 cup distilled water
- 10 drops of tea tree essential oil
Cedar wood essential oil is a great natural flea repellent for your dog. Orange oil is an awesome tick repellent too. Frontline and Advantix are poisonous! Stay away from those nasty chemicals. If you’re looking for a natural flea and tick control or remedy for your dog then please use these essential oils from your health food store: Cedar wood oil and orange oil. Use only natural products like herbs on your pet! What you really need is a natural flea repellent for dogs to keep the fleas out of your house and home! One of the best natural flea and tick remedy for dogs is to use a flea comb too. Flea combs remove dead debris from a dog’s fur. This keeps the dog much healthier than an dog not combed. Avoid Advantix! Avoid Frontline! Use natural flea and tick remedy for dogs or at least a home remedies for fleas on dogs. The fleas will RUN because they hate cedarwood essential oils! It’s the BEST flea and tick treatment if you’re trying to stay natural.