The fine weather is finally here. The long expectation during the cold winter and pleasant but rainy days of early spring are over. After several months of spending time mostly indoors, we are getting more active, our mood is improving, and we are feeling all of the benefits of being outside and spending time in nature. But, unfortunately, we are not the only ones who find the warm weather thrilling. All of nature is waking up, from the tallest tree to the tiniest insect. And sometimes those very small ones can produce the biggest problems. Just like a true predator, this blood-feeding insect hides in the grass. We can rarely see it until it is too late. We are, of course, talking about ticks and how to prevent Lyme disease infection.
Ticks are members of the Arachnida class, as they share similarities with spiders and are the relatives of mites. They feed on the blood of mammals, birds, sometimes reptiles, or even some amphibians. And they are pretty good at it since they have been around for over a 100 million years.
Now, no insect bite is fun, but what makes ticks so notorious is Lyme disease. Ticks are very small, but once they start feeding they take so much blood, their size increases significantly. So unlike mosquitos, they won’t let go that easily. We need to pluck them out, but even if you have experience in that, you should not do it by yourself. Ticks grasp the source of food very tight. In fact, there is a good chance you will pull out the body while the head remains stuck in the skin and that severed head can bring another set of problems.
Besides taking special care when removing them, the tick should be examined for Lyme disease. And if positive, you should get treatment.
So what can we do to prevent Lyme disease infection?
One simple way is to avoid areas that have more chance of being inhabited by ticks. They like humid areas, which are often full of tall grass. So avoiding those areas, especially in spring and early summer is a good idea. But if you can’t avoid them make sure you have the proper clothing. Long sleeves and pants are crucial.
Also, good and effective insect repellant should be one of the first things to do before spending the time in nature, especially in the spring and early summer. A good guide for choosing the right insect repellant, or even making your own natural version, is this Dr. Mercola web page.
Besides these, there are some suggestions that white vinegar works great as a tick repellent. Add 2 cups of vinegar to 1 cup of water, plus essential oils from lemon and eucalyptus and it should work just fine; plus the scent of eucalyptus and lemon will mask the vinegar.
Another good way to prevent Lyme disease infection is information. The CDC has yearly maps of Lyme Disease infection by location. Before planning your next trip, be sure you’re protected in high incidence areas.
So you spent a great day out in nature. Everything was great, but if you spent time in an area with ticks, there is a possibility you carried one or more of them home with you. They can travel on clothing, gear, pets, etc., so we need to be sure there are no ticks which can bite later.
Young ticks, in the stages of larvae and nymph, are very small, and therefore are very difficult to spot. Wash the clothes at a high temperature in order to kill them. Showering in the first couple of hours after returning home can prevent ticks from attaching, and is also an opportunity to examine the body for any attached small tick.
The areas to pay special attention to are: back of the knees, behind and in the ears, in and around the hair, inside the belly button, between the legs, under the arms.
If you find a tick attached, the important thing to remember is time. The longer the tick is feeding, the more chance Lyme disease-causing bacteria have spread. It usually takes 36-48 hours for bacteria transmission, so removal in the first 24 hours should increase chances of preventing Lyme disease infection. However, testing the tick is the best way to rule out infection.
Can our own defense prevent Lyme disease infection?
Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria called Borrelia, so naturally improving the immune system can lower the chance of infection.
A strong immune system helps in fighting off the bacterial infection causing Lyme disease. A weak immune system has a weaker reaction to the Borrelia type bacteria, which allows bacteria to spread and cause multiple organ inflammation.
One of the main components of our immune system is T-cells. They are part of the adaptive immune system, and it has been shown that patients with lower levels of T-cells, and accompanying cytokines, chemokines and anti-Borrelia antibodies, are more prone to vital organ inflammation if exposed to Lyme disease.
Therefore, a good strategy to prevent Lyme disease infection would be to strengthen up your immune system. So even if you venture out to places where ticks like to hang around and you happen to get one attached, your immune system can drastically decrease the chance of bacteria causing the infection.
T-cells are naturally produced in the thymus gland, but over the years their production decreases. Luckily, we have developed a way of stimulating its production of T-cells. By using BioPro-Plus we are boosting the immune system in a natural way. More T-cells means a better defense.
So by using BioPro-Plus, we are putting ourselves in the better position against many infections, but Lyme disease is recurring one that is affecting the entire body. Unlike big epidemics of flu or other diseases, Lyme disease is present always in almost every part of the world, with more or less intensity, especially in those areas with a humid climate.
Lyme disease occurrence in humans has been steadily increasing over the past 25 years in the US, so prevention is a high priority. We can help ourselves by taking precautions by: avoiding areas ticks are likely to be present in, wearing the appropriate clothing, cleaning and self-checking after we spend time in nature and by improving our immune system so we can fight off a possible infection. Then, just relax and enjoy more quality time outdoors!