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Unfortunately Lyme Disease is on the rise. In this article we get practical, arming ourselves with information from our recent ‘Ask the Expert’ session with leading Lyme investigator and author Mary Beth Pfeiffer and go through the top ten ways you can protect you and your kids from Lyme Disease. When it comes to Lyme prevention really is better than cure.
Sometimes when we hear about these diseases that are on the rise the default reaction is fear and retreat. I totally get it, you don’t want yet another thing to worry about. However, knowledge and awareness can bring great empowerment and protection particularly when it comes to Lyme Disease….
As it stands – our best weapon against the rise of Lyme disease is prevention and actually once you know what you’re dealing with it is surprisingly easy to do. Plus, if caught and treated early there is a very good chance you’ll be absolutely fine. So it really is a case of forewarned is forearmed when it comes to Lyme!
Below are the ten ways you can protect you and your kids from Lyme taken from conversation with one of the leading experts and author of Lyme: The First Epidemic of Climate Change Mary Beth Pfeiffer. Click here for our full conversation and here for our podcast:
ONE: vigilance is the number one most important thing. Know when the risk is greatest, know where the risk is greatest and check you and your kids thoroughly every time you are out in nature. Make it part of your routine.
TWO: when? unfortunately due to climate change the tick season is getting longer and longer and less predictable. However, the time of greatest risk is Spring (and this is when the ticks are smallest – as small as a poppy seed in some cases) and then again in the Autumn/Fall months. These are the times to be most aware. However, one of the leading experts said recently that he thinks there is no ‘safe’ time free from the prospect of ticks. So once again, vigilance at all times is ideal.
THREE: where? Obviously tall grass, weeds and areas of nature, but they have also come to more urban areas like parks within cities so anytime you’re in grass or weeds it is worth being aware.
FOUR: check you and your children thoroughly – make it part of the routine. Remember that these ticks can be very small and in particular areas they can be found are the groin, underarms, hairline and check hidden areas.
FIVE: educate your kids: tell them to be wary of playing in tall weeds/grass/leaf piles and teach them to check themselves regularly.
SIX: Simply tucking your/your child’s trousers into socks when venturing out in nature and walking in grass can be effective.
SEVEN: Treat your clothes. If you are regularly outside in a countryside environment particularly during high risk times then it may be worth treating your clothes. During the tick season Mary Beth takes her grandkids clothes out onto the driveway and sprays trousers, socks and shoes with the repellent Permethrin. It typically lasts around 6 washes and she believes during peak risk time the risk/reward using a repellent is in favour vs. the risk and consequence of Lyme.
EIGHT: if you are bitten/think you may have been bitten know what to look for:
A ‘bulls-eye’ rash which occurs in 60-80% of cases. Although be wary the rash may take on different forms or may not be there at all.
Summer flu: aches, chills, fever, headache or unusual summer symptoms.
Spotting a tick on the body which can be as small as a poppy seed
NINE: know what to do if you have been bitten:
Buy some specialist tick tweezers, the reason you need these is removing in the right way can prevent nasties from the tick going inside of the body.
Remove the tick asap
If in doubt about how to remove it check out www.lyme.org
Go to see your doctor as soon as possible to treat the bite.
TEN: speak up! There is varying knowledge and motivations around dealing with ticks in the medical community and the trouble is that the traditional test is not always accurate. Click here for more. So, if you think you have been bitten you must speak up very clearly until someone listens. The best thing for Lyme is early treatment so do not be shy about insisting that you may have been at risk and be your own advocate.
For more from Mary Beth on this subject check out our article here and podcast or to buy her book click here if you’re in the US or here for Europe.
This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The information on this website has been developed following years of personal research and from referenced and sourced medical research. Before making any changes we strongly recommend you consult a healthcare professional before you begin.
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