Summer season is quick approaching, and there are so many reasons to be pumped about it– barbecues, outdoor yoga, long meditative hikes, and naturally greater vitamin D levels, among others. However warm weather also brings with it something even more anxiety-inducing: Lyme disease, an infection caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi that’s transferred to human beings through a bite from a contaminated black-legged or deer tick.
Presently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approximates that 300,000 people contract Lyme illness in the U.S. every year– however many experts believe the real number of cases is much greater and that many people go undiagnosed (due, in part, to ineffective diagnostic tests), which can result in incapacitating late-stage signs that are frequently misdiagnosed as other chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia and several sclerosis.
Yes, all of this sounds pretty scary, but we’re not here to freak you out. The bright side: You can significantly lower your chances of contracting Lyme illness in the very first location if you take appropriate preventive steps, and you can get it treated early (when it’s most responsive to prescription antibiotics) if you understand how to spot its earliest signs and symptoms.
Here, six doctor-approved methods to secure yourself from Lyme illness this year.
1. Take steps to reinforce your immune system all year long.
Nurturing your body with nutrient-rich entire foods, recovery your gut if it’s compromised, getting enough deep sleep and workout, and decreasing tension may be your finest first line of defense in safeguarding yourself from Lyme. Why? Many reputable integrative professionals who deal with Lyme patients believe that a strong immune system can make all the difference in your body’s ability to fight off Lyme on its own if you are bitten and contaminated or at least reduce your Lyme signs and make you more responsive to treatment.
” I’ve come across a great deal of individuals who have proof that they have actually been exposed to Lyme, yet they have actually never had a single symptom,” says Darin Ingels, N.D., naturopathic physician and author of The Lyme Solution: A 5-Part Strategy To Eliminate the Inflammatory Autoimmune Action and Beat Lyme Illness. “So in theory, if you get bitten by a tick that brings Lyme or the typical co-infections and your body immune system does what it’s expected to, you might eliminate it prior to it ends up being problematic.”
Other medical professionals concur: “Is it possible to have Lyme and not get sick or to have a severe infection and overcome it by yourself? Absolutely. There are some people who come across Lyme and their body immune system just handles it– knocks it back and simply walls it away,” says Kristin Reihman, M.D., household medicine doctor and author of Life After Lyme. “That’s why the focus of my Lyme interventions really center on the immune system.”
Know where ticks are hiding (it’s not simply the woods!).
While it’s true that the majority of Lyme-carrying ticks are discovered in the Northeast and Midwest, Lyme illness has actually been found in all 50 states. “Pretty much the whole East Coast and West Coast are covered with these deer ticks, and they’re starting to push inland,” states Ingels. “They have actually moved due to birds, so we’re seeing them vacate their common geographical location.”
You may also presume that Lyme-carrying deer ticks (and ticks in general, which can bring other pathogens) are confined to wooded locations, but no such luck. Ticks can be found anywhere that the animals they feed upon (mice, rats, squirrels, deer, and others) live. And yes, this typically means damp, shrubby, wooded, brushy, leafy areas deep in the countryside, but it can also suggest the turf or leaf stacks in your lawn, beach grass by the ocean, or places like Central Park. “I utilized to see clients in Manhattan and they would get Lyme illness,” states Ingels.
So, while it’s extra important to be alert about preventing ticks in high-risk parts of the country and in rural areas with lots of vegetation, you may still need to take a few of the safety measures below no matter where you live.
3. Gown appropriately and utilize the best repellent.
If you’re out doing yard work, out hiking in the woods, gardening, or investing any considerable time in locations you believe ticks are most likely lurking, you may need to reconsider your wardrobe.
” I suggest individuals utilize protective clothing, so that suggests long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and a hat if you’re going to be hiking in a woody area,” says Ingels. “These ticks are very small, and it doesn’t take much time for them to attach, so putting as much of a barrier in between ticks and your skin as you can is a great concept.” Not into the concept of concealing your whole body on a hot summertime hike? At least, wear some great tall, light-colored socks with your hiking boots so you can better find ticks before they have a possibility to crawl up onto your bare legs.
Spritzing on a good repellent is also crucial. The CDC recommends using a repellent including DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (para-menthane-diol), or 2-undecanone to all exposed skin, and treating your shoes, socks, and trousers with an item containing 0.5 percent permethrin. Some of these repellents (like DEET) are considered more hazardous than others, so make certain to have a look at the Environmental Working Group’s guide to bug repellent chemicals to examine which one might be right for you and your family.
Some professionals do not utilize any of these repellents, however, choosing rather for blends of naturally bug-repelling necessary oils. “A few of the traditional things, like repellents including DEET or permethrin, both of which are extremely hazardous chemicals, is that there may be a cumulative effect if you keep using these chemicals to your clothing and skin regularly,” states Ingels. “This might cause a negative response over time.”
Ingels personally uses Tick Tock Naturals Organic Insect Repellent, which contains a blend of lemongrass necessary oil, thyme necessary oil, rosemary essential oil, and eugenol (a substance drawn out from important oils like clove and cinnamon).
Costs Rawls, M.D., integrative doctor and author of Opening Lyme also uses natural repellents consisting of components like clove, tea tree, and eucalyptus necessary oils. However, he states, it is very important to choose the best repellent for your particular circumstance– if you’re going to be treking on a well-groomed path or strolling in your yard, natural is most likely great; if you’re going to be learning knee-high brush or walking through some untamed woods, then you may need to utilize “the huge weapons,” he states.
4. Scan yourself for ticks, specifically in these hard-to-see places.
After any considerable time outdoors in areas where Lyme is understood to be present, you’ll want to do a full tick scan. Showering is terrific, too, but that alone won’t cut it if ticks are currently connected. Where to look? “Ticks like the dark damp areas of the body, so they’ll go to the locations you typically do not look– behind the knees, the groin area, armpits, your hairline, under the breasts,” says Ingels. “You have to look at the cracks and crevices of the body, which are often tough to see, so it can be practical to have another person check you.”
Likewise crucial to keep in mind: Nymphal deer ticks are accountable for causing the most cases of Lyme disease, however they are extremely small– as small as a poppy seed! So make sure to take an additional careful look. Fortunately: If you discover a tick, however it hasn’t attached, you’re likely just fine. “Ticks transfer Lyme and other co-infections once they have a blood meal,” states Ingels. “So if you see a tick on you that’s moving and hasn’t connected yet, it likely hasn’t bitten you yet.”