There has been a lot of hype in the media lately about the spread of ticks across North America and the horrific tick borne illnesses. Ticks are said to be on the rise due to warmer winters. Some believe in a government conspiracy behind some of the tick borne illnesses such as Lyme Disease. I cannot shed any light on these allegations but to combat the spread of fear-mongering, we can share knowledge about preventative measures. Hundreds of thousands of people are affected by tick-borne diseases annually and the best way to prevent the further spread of these diseases is by taking certain actions, on an individual basis but also at the government level.
How can governments help? By sharing knowledge to citizens but also by taking action. Actions may include: researching and funding prevention and treatments options that work, keeping grass short and landscaping parks and public walkways so as to protect against ticks, putting up warning signs in high risk areas, treatments for animals (both pets and wild), and by effectively controlling certain animal populations, nuisance animals, and rodent infestations.
What can individuals do? I’ll divide this up into two categories, around your home and garden and also on your body.
Around Your Home and Garden
- Keep grass short or de-turf
- Put up a fence to keep out deer
- De-turf a path around perimeter of property and fill with mulch or pebbles
- Keep free-range guinea fowl (if you can put up with them)
- Put out de-ticking tubing for mice (research tick-tubes)
- Decrease rodent population around your home
- Seal home from rodent intrusion
- Treat pets medically and naturally for ticks, and check them for ticks after they have been outside
- Shake sulphur powder around your yard and garden
- Grow tick and insect repelling herbs and plants in your garden (research what works)
- Create walking paths throughout your land
- Build decks and patios as place to hang-out
- Do not feed deer or wild animals
- Keep gardens well protected from nuisance animals
On Your Body
- Wash with a herbal anti-tick soap (ask your local garden centre if they carry any)
- Spray your body with herbal deterrent sprays (research what works)
- Dust your socks with aluminium free sulphur powder
- Spray Deet on your clothes and boots
- Tie back your hair and wear a hat
- Avoid walking through dense brush or high grass
- Tuck your pants into your socks, and your shirt into your pants (high fashion trend)
- Wear long sleeves
- Wear light coloured materials so ticks are visible
- Use a sticky lint brush on your clothes before entering your home or vehicle
- Remove outdoor clothing before entering your home
- Check your body for ticks, especially your scalp, armpits, and groin
- Check your babies and children for ticks after outdoor play
- Remember ticks can be the size of a poppyseed
- Collect ticks and send ticks for testing
- Wash then dry clothes on hot heat to kill ticks
- Add raw garlic and whole stevia leaf to your healthy, anti-inflammatory diet
Enjoying time outside is very important for all of us and with knowledge and vigilance we can enjoy time spent in the outdoors without being irrationally fearful of ticks and the diseases they carry.
If you have become infected with Lyme Disease or another tick-borne illness, I suggest you pursue wellness through alternative means in addition to what your Doctor can offer you. One study showed whole Stevia leaf was effective in killing chronic Lyme Disease Borrelia. Some patients have had success with oxygen therapy or a “clean” and gluten-free anti-inflammatory diet. A holistic approach to wellness is ideal taking into account dietary and lifestyle factors.