Tick Season: Help Naturally Prevent Tick Bites
We are all at risk for tick bites. It seems that no where is safe anymore. You don’t need to live in a wooded area, surrounded by deer, and spend 10 hours a day outside… No, instead, you can find a tick in your home in the middle of the city nowadays. With Lyme Disease being the fastest growing epidemic in the history of our society, ticks are tiny creatures to be feared. Not only can a tick transmit Lyme disease, but there are several other life-altering conditions that can come from a tick that takes hold. Some of these include:
- Tick Paralysis. (Yes, this is real. Yes, it is terrifying.)
- Colorado Tick Fever
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Bug and Tick SprayAccording to Renegade Health, the problem with DEET is: “The standard recommendation for avoiding ticks is to use DEET-based repellants, but that can be dangerous to your health. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a study in the late 1980s on 143 National Park Service employees found that 25 percent reported health effects after applying DEET, including rashes, skin or mucous membrane irritation, numb or burning lips, dizziness, diorientation, and difficulty concentrating. Headache and nausea were also reported. A more recent 2009 animal study conducted by the Institute of Development Research in France found that DEET can interfere with the activity of enzymes vital to the nervous system. In fact, the researchers noted that the chemical works in the same way as paralyzing nerve gases used in warfare.”
Natural AlternativesHomemade Tick Repellent Recipe:
- 2 C white vinegar.
- 1 C water.
- 10 drops of eucalyptus, peppermint, OR citrus essential oil. All of these serve as a tick repellent. (I like orange, personally.)
- 10 drops tea tree essential oil (another tick repellent- plus it’s antibacterial).
- Use a non-toxic, plastic-free insect-repelling band, which is easier to use on children and very effective.
- Add vanilla extract to either of the above recipes, or just rub on the skin. You can also mix vanilla with witch hazel and water for a spray version.
- Plant insect repelling herbs in your yard. I grow lavender, thyme, mint and citronella near our patio and we use these fresh plants as bug repellent in a pinch.
- Rub lavender flowers or lavender oil on your skin, especially on hot parts of body (neck, underarms, behind ears, etc.) to repel insects.
- Rub fresh or dried leaves of anything in the mint family all over skin to repel insects (peppermint, spearmint, catnip, pennyroyal, etc. or citronella, lemongrass, etc.) Basil is also said to repel mosquitoes.
RemindersGeneral guidelines from Health Renegade for protecting yourself and your family from tick bites. These include:
- Habitat: Be aware that ticks live in wooded, grassy, and brushy areas. They like moist, humid environments. Avoid these types of areas, or be sure that you protect yourself when you go into them.
- Direction: Walk in the center of trails to avoid contact with ticks.
- Clothes: Wear light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants, and tuck your pants into your socks. When you return to the house, immediately wash clothing and put into a dryer set on high heat.
- Hair: Cover, braid, or tie up long hair, and consider wearing a hat.
- Body: Shower immediately after being out in tick-friendly areas, and check your body for ticks. Remember to look in hidden areas like under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, on the back of the knees, in and around the hair, between the legs and around the waist.