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:
- Wear light colored clothing, as it is easier to spot a dark tick against a light colored garment.
- Tuck your pant legs into your socks to provide a tight seal
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Take a shower to wash the ticks in hiding down the drain.
- Make sure full body checks are done after returning from a day in the gardens, camping, hiking, hunting, etc.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- I personally love this product and use it holistically, as well as use around my gardens to help keep other pesky insects at bay.
- 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.
- DE can be purchased online as well as at your local grain stores.
- Consider wearing a mask, when applying to your pets or gardens (mostly when it is windy out) to avoid inhaling too much)
- 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.
- Plant Eucalyptus around your home for additional protection, but be mindful of pets.
- 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.
- Create natural sprays from either citrus fruit or essential oils
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- NOTE: you can adjust the amount of lavender based on your personal preference
- You can use this for bed linens, night wear, pillows, etc. to repel insects and ticks while also providing a calm nights rest.
- 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.
- I make these for my personal use as well as sell to clients
- 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.
- 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