• Tag Archives ticks
  • Ticks, Ticks, are Everywhere!! – Prevention

    By Laura D. Field of Potpourri of Health – May 18, 2017

    How quickly we can squish an ant, swat a fly, spray a hornet, zap a mosquito. We squish that ant because it is crawling on the counter, swat the fly because it annoyingly flies annoyingly around us, spray the hornet with such force as if we are riding the world of them all, and zapping mosquito’s due to their ability to bite with a vengeance along with their non-stop buzzing sound. But, the reason we can tend to these insects is because they are readily visible, make noises and we know the damage they can do, whether to our home, family or own personal well being.
    Yet with ticks, we are faced with a gentle, crawling creature that in its nymph stage is barely noticeable, while as it gets larger, has the ability to numb your skin like Novocain before they begin the process of boring into your skin to seek refuge and sustenance within your body. If we are lucky, we can spot the tick making tracks towards its destination, more often in warm dark areas on your body, such as your groin, hairline, underarms, etc.

    Here are some options to prevent their unwelcomed presence, but first, please do not stop living due to the fear of these insects. Go hiking, camping, walking, fishing, hunting, gardening, etc. Just be vigilant in your efforts in preventing them from taking hold and damaging your life.:

    Before and after being outdoors in areas with a potential risk, consider:

    1. Wear light colored clothing, as it is easier to spot a dark tick against a light colored garment.
    2. Tuck your pant legs into your socks to provide a tight seal
    3. Spray your clothing with Permethrin, which is a safe tick repellent that can be purchased in hardware and grain stores, Wal-mart, and a variety of other stores also carry it. Spray on your hat, your outer clothing, shoes, etc. DO NOT spray directly on your skin. There are Permethrin products specific for skin application.
    4. Have lint rollers around. These are great at doing a quick tick check, as the ticks will get stuck to the sticky portion. You could also use shippers/packing tape or duct tape that is wrapped around your hand with the stitcky-side out if you do not have lint rollers around.
    5. Place your clothes into the dryer for 20 min. when you come in from the outdoors so that it can kill any that are not seen
    6. Take a shower to wash the ticks in hiding down the drain.
    7. Make sure full body checks are done after returning from a day in the gardens, camping, hiking, hunting, etc.

    Repellant Options;

    1. As mentioned above, Permethrin can be used on your clothing before heading out, including hats and shoes. Permethrin will last through 4-6 wash cycles, dependent upon the agitation within your washer.
    2. When using Permethrin: read the directions for applications, but in layman terms, spray about 6-8 feet away from the garment, in a non-windy environment (your garage or on a day that it is not windy). Let it dry for about 2 hrs., and you are good to go. If you have the time, place your treated garments in the dryer to further adhere to the fibers to your garment. There is no smell, and will not stain your clothing.
    3. There are specialty clothing that is specially treated with Permethrin, and others designed specifically to prevent ticks from crawling up, that can be found at outdoor sport centers.
    4. DE (Diatomaceous Earth) is a safe product to use around your gardens. Be sure to purchase the food grade. This is also safe for animals, yet with cats, since they are more sensitive, scruff your cats neck as you apply the DE, as well as rub on their belly (if you have a cat that will allow you to do this). Be very careful not to get in their eyes, nose or mouth. Keep it on for 24 hrs then shampoo after.
      1. I personally love this product and use it holistically, as well as use around my gardens to help keep other pesky insects at bay.
      2. The benefit of use around your herb and vegetable gardens is that you know it is a safe pesticide that you will later consume through the food you grow.
      3. DE can be purchased online as well as at your local grain stores.
      4. Consider wearing a mask, when applying to your pets or gardens (mostly when it is windy out) to avoid inhaling too much)
    5. Plant Lavender around your walkway and gardens. It is not only a great insect repellent (including ticks) but smells quite lovely while providing a protective shield.
    6. Plant Eucalyptus around your home for additional protection, but be mindful of pets.
    7. Plant Lemongrass around your gardens as well, since ticks do not like the smell of citrus. This does well in containers and smells quite lovely, which makes for a lovely display within a potted floral arrangement or by itself. We have a few that I place around the gazebo areas.
    8. Create natural sprays from either citrus fruit or essential oils
      1. Citrus Spray: Slice 2 lemons (or limes). 2. Boil 2 c. of water. 3. Reduce water to a simmer and place in your citrus fruit for 1 hour. Strain, cool, and then put into your sprayer. Once cooled, it is ready to be safely used on you, your children, your yard and pets.
      2. Mint Spray: In 1 c. of water, add 2 drops of 100% pure peppermint essential oil. Place in a spray bottle and it is ready to use in the same manner as the citrus spray.
      3. Lavender Spray: Note: This is a great mosquito repellent as well and can be placed in decorative bowls around your home, indoors as well as out. Take ¼ c. of distilled or filtered water and add about 30-40 drops of 100% pure Lavender essential oil. Stir slightly and put into a spray bottle or place in decorative bowls around the home.
        1. NOTE: you can adjust the amount of lavender based on your personal preference
        2. You can use this for bed linens, night wear, pillows, etc. to repel insects and ticks while also providing a calm nights rest.
      4. Place dried lavender around your home. Better yet, consider lavender sachets. They not only keep the ticks at bay but also spiders and other pests. The BONUS: if place in the warmth of sunlight, it will freshen you home preventing the use of toxic air fresheners, while also providing a relaxing environment.
        1. I make these for my personal use as well as sell to clients
      5. Keep your yard clean of debris, trimming tall grass and removing dead leaves. Please know, that this is not going to keep them from hiding, but will give them less of a chance to hitch a ride onto your pant leg and quickly crawl into hiding.
        1. Some claim that keeping your yard clear of tall grass or debris is efficient, and although it might work okay in a yard with no trees, shrubs, gardens, etc., one really needs to be attentive to all the surrounding plants within your yard.

    Although the tips shared are ones we use, they are not all inclusive. There are many options available, yet we have found the above to be the most effective and most natural.

    My hope in sharing is that others can prevent the risk of infection that causes the Lyme disease that infects people very differently. There is NO cure, NO preventive immunization, just treatment that can be life long.

    Enjoy the outdoors and what nature can offer. We live in a gorgeous world!! All we need to do is be safe.

    Laura – Chronic Persistent Lyme Disease patient

    Laura D. Field – Blogger and paid Freelance writer

    Potpourri of Health www.potpourriofhealth.com
    Freelance writer at www.reflectivetapestryoflife.com
    Seamstress consultant at www.davinadawnsewing.com & www.seamstobeme.davinadawnsewing.com

  • The Denial & Ignorance of Lyme Disease

    By Laura D. Field of Potpourri of Health – May 17, 2017

    Yesterday I listened to a 30 minute telecast from one of the local hospitals. It was discouraging to watch and listen, as the conversation was neglect of what needs to be shared.

    The main focus was to discuss how worried one should be about tick-borne diseases and how to prevent tick bites. I was interested in listening; as I was hopeful that possibly the hospital might have gained a new perspective and understanding of the disease. And yet, what was shared was extremely limited and not fully transparent.

    People are looking for answers for their symptoms. When tests come back time and time again that “you are fine”, while brushing you off until your next persistent push to find an answer. Recommendations to see specialists, such as neurologists, rheumatologists, pulmonary and heart specialists, that you become tired of becoming the victim of “nothing is wrong” when you know without a doubt there is something brewing within your body.

    For myself, it was to the point where I literally felt as though I was being eaten from the inside out. Internally it felt like bugs were crawling within me without the ability to physically remove (kill) them. I was dizzy and had to stop walking outdoors, had forgetful moments NOT related to aging, brain fog where I simply struggled in finding the right words, pain throughout my joints and muscles, tremors, increased anxiety, increased blood pressure, lack of desire, ambition and strength, chronic fatigue, etc. The list was endless.

    My primary physician started to push Fibromyalgia, which I shared that it was not “in my head” or related to past trauma. This was real. I had MRI’s and x-rays confirming that I had arthritis and some Orthopaedic issues. My Orthopedist also confirmed that it was NOT fibromyalgia. Then off to the Neurologist, due to a brain scan showing signs of MS, but unless I chose the spinal fluid test, they would not know for certain. This was something I had refused because I have back issues and had recently undergone back surgery for sciatic pain that was extremely disabling.

    I finally gave up until I met with my specialist for another purpose, and as I shared a few of the symptoms I was struggling with in relation to my purpose there, he started to review the multiple tests that I had gone through. He then asked me to keep talking while sharing what I had become tired of sharing. I asked him “why”, as I had pretty much given up and believed that it was no longer worth the struggle in sharing what I was going through. It was easier to accept that my body was dying and I was making plans to simply accept that fate.

    So, after listening, he said, “I think I know what is going on”. I perked up a little and asked “really??” Then he shared “I think you have Lyme Disease” I shared with him that I was tested a few times at the hospital and he said, “although it can sometimes show a positive result, more often than not it doesn’t. I need you to consider another test, that unfortunately is not covered by the insurance company”

    My husband and I went home with something to think about. I researched a little about Lyme disease, read some literature he gave me, and I perked up with encouragement, sharing with my husband that Dr. D. could be right.

    Now, I’m not one to look for an ailment, just answers, so that I can make changes to improve if necessary. But what I read was eye opening. Despite the pinch in our resources, we were fortunately blessed with the funds, to have the $200 test done. There was a part of me that expected that the results would come back “normal”, a part of me that really wanted it to come back normal, but my hope was that I would have an answer.

    It wasn’t even two weeks when I heard back from my physician sharing that I was positive and needed to see me back in his office as soon as he had an opening to fit me in, which I was fortunate in that I was able to acquire an appointment two weeks later. In the meantime, he gave me more resources to read, so I was at the library acquiring the books he recommended.

    I am an avid reader, always desiring to learn what I can, along with reading for pleasure, but the task to read at this stage, was a chore. I read though. I read a lot!! So, by the time I entered his office, I said, “well, I don’t plan on living in a 6 story high-rise apartment, as I love being out in nature, but I am willing to fight”

    That was 2 ½ years ago, with a diagnosis at that time of at least 8 years of having the disease, and going untreated. Treatment is a roller coaster ride of getting better then feeling worse, then returning to feeling somewhat better again.

    The reason the online telecast was discouraging, is that they avoided the topic of the real danger Lyme disease. They stated that it could be healed, which it cannot, although it can go into remission. Most patients, even if they say they are healed, they are on an ongoing treatment of antibiotics, antibiotics and herbals, herbals and tinctures, essential oils, diet, or other option that allows them to function. Let’s be real; if you are healed, you no longer need an ongoing treatment plan to keep symptoms at bay. With Lyme disease, once you are back to a “normal” life, you still run the risk of symptoms returning. Think of Chickenpox. You acquire the disease as a child, yet that virus remains in your body and can come back as Shingles. With Lyme, we are talking about a bacteria that has co-infections and screw-type bacteria (spirochetes) type bugs that find places to bore themselves into, hiding away while at the same time multiplying.

    The Infectious Disease specialist called it Post-treatment Lyme; where you deal with symptoms after initial treatment, yet do not have the disease. What is the answer to the patient who has suffered with Lyme disease for years, before they are appropriately tested and finally considered infected? This is NOT post-treatment. I was diagnosed with Chronic Persistent Lyme disease, with test results that fell within the CDC guidelines. “Post-treatment” they claim is the residual recurrence and long lasting “symptoms” but not the disease.

    What was interesting is that she shared that you will always test positive for Lyme after your initial diagnosis and treatment but you will not have Lyme disease again. REALLY? So, a cancer patient has tests proving they have cancer, obtain treatment to which they heal and go into remission. They are considered cancer free.

    Until the CDC “says” something is real, it is not real in the eyes of physician acceptance with treatment. Yet even with the CDC levels showing a positive test result, my PCP continually denied/denies that I have this disease. Only those who research and study, with a desire to treat their patients based on believing what they are told, while providing them a test to aid in their treatment plan, will be the leaders in helping Lyme patients heal. Unfortunately, this results in very few specialists (in this case LLMD’s – Lyme Literate Medical Doctors), who are willing to treat a population that is steadily growing with very sick people.

    My next blog post I will share the topic of prevention and what one can do. The telecast did share some tips, but there are more to which I believe might prove to be resourceful.

    Be careful of the crawlies…they are everywhere and when you least expect it, you could have a hitch-hiker looking for a place to nestle and bore into.


    Laura D. Field – Blogger and paid Freelance writer

    Potpourri of Health www.potpourriofhealth.com
    Freelance writer at www.reflectivetapestryoflife.com
    Seamstress consultant at www.davinadawnsewing.com & www.seamstobeme.davinadawnsewing.com