Lyme Disease Awareness Month

The area where I currently reside with my family is considered a deer tick zone and it is absolutely worrisome to me. Contracting Lyme disease is no joking matter. To make matters worse, they have discovered new tick-related illnesses we need to educate ourselves about. Ugh!

Now that it is spring and warmer days are upon us, I’m so happy that I can get the girls out to run around in our yard. Having more outdoor space we could all enjoy was one of the primary reasons for moving out of the city. The trade off, however, is having to deal with “country” issues such as Lyme disease. So, around this time of year, I always ask myself whether we indeed made the right decision to leave the city to live in a more rural/pastoral setting, it’s that scary to me.

May is Lyme Disease Awareness month, so I thought this would be a good time to post something that will get us back into the habit of tick-checking and prevention. If you are reading this elsewhere other than in the northeastern states, don’t think this post doesn’t apply to you. Did you know that just about every state has Lyme-spreading ticks? Yep, you heard that right. But don’t get me wrong, it’s still mainly a northeastern thing. The CDC reported that 96% of all confirmed Lyme disease cases were concentrated in 14 states, and there were only five states that have never reported a single case–Colorado, Hawaii, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.

A few tips to prevent tick bites:

May is Lyme Disease Awareness month, so I thought this would be a good time to post something that will get us back into the habit of tick-checking and prevention...
  • When you are out, bring a mini sticky lint brush with you. Roll yourself and your clothes with it a few times. You might pick up a tick before it bites you.
  • Once your kids have bathed that evening and the tick check is done, don’t allow them outside again for the remainder of the evening. It may sound harsh I know, but that was a big must-do tip from our pediatrician.
  • Wear light-colored clothing if you need to be in woodsy areas. It’s easier to see what’s crawling on you that way!
  • Try wearing clothing that has a Permethrin-based finish, which is designed to keep ticks away.
  • If you have been out hiking, or in an area of potential tick risk, when you get home throw your clothes in the dryer, the heat will kill the ticks. And while that’s happening, take a shower and do a thorough inspection.
  • Use bug sprays that contain DEET. Now I’m not a huge fan of these chemicals, but if I know we are going into a woodsy area, which is rare, I’m definitely spraying on some DEET.  Go here to help you choose a repellent for your child. For everyday use, I go the natural route, no question–there are so many great, natural brands on the market these days. If you want to take it one step further, you can make you own tick repellent with essential oils.

Here’s a quick recipe I found online that is good for children 3+.


DIY Natural Tick Spray

In a 4 oz bottle add:

2 oz of witch hazel

2 oz of distilled water

20 drops of lavender oil

20 drops of lemon eucalyptus

  • Shake well before each use. Spray on your clothes and skin.

At the end of the day, we don’t want to restrict our lives to the point of becoming paranoid about everything. Yes, danger lurks around every corner, we just have to take the best precautions to dodge them without going overboard. Our kids still need to be kids after all. We just need to be vigilant about checking them and ourselves–and definitely don’t forget yourself!!!!

Do you have any useful tips to share?

Lyme diseaseself-careshopticks

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Gail says:

Hi Emma!
One great tip I got from our pediatrician was to save any tick that you have remove from your skin. He recommended placing it in a sealed plastic bag for identification. We did this when our preschool age daughter came home from school complaining about pinching on her head. When I looked a tick was buried in her scalp. We live in a suburb of Chicago and the area outside of our school has a lot of trees and wood chips. We were able to identify the tick and held onto it until we were sure she was not infected.

I’m so glad you posted about Lyme Disease. My two cousins and I had it in the summer of 1988 and it was a scary experience to say the least. We were lucky to be diagnosed early and not have any long-term issues. Prevention and early detection is so important. I try to be vigilant with my daughters and I just learned a few new tips from your blog. Thank you for posting and helping to increase awareness about Lyme disease!

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