3 Ways to Prevent Lyme Disease This Summer
Lyme disease is an infectious and inflammatory condition caused by the bacteria and is spread to humans from infected animals via ticks. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid tick-infested areas whenever possible, particularly in spring and early summer when nymph ticks feed. Adult ticks are a bigger threat in fall. Ticks favour moist, shaded environments; especially leafy wooded areas and overgrown grassy habitats.
The prevalence of Lyme disease is increasing in North America and since it can be a challenge to diagnose, early detection and prevention is key as the symptoms worsen and become more debilitating over time. Here are three ways you can prevent tick bites and stay safe from Lyme Disease!
1. Natural Insect Repellent
The best way to prevent Lyme Disease is with natural insect repellent. When hiking or camping be sure to apply insect repellent and to reapply often. Wearing light colors makes it easier to spot ticks and wearing long sleeves prevents ticks getting in contact with skin.
2. Natural Immune System Support
How you respond to Lyme disease will depend on how early it is detected as well as the strength of your immune system to fight it. When you maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, your immune system will be ready and armed to minimize your body’s reaction to the infection.
Vitamin D — Vitamin D strengthens your immune system and can help reduce inflammation in your brain, heart and joints. You may need anywhere from 2000IU to 10 000IU per day. See a naturopathic doctor who can recommend how much you should take based on your blood levels. If you live in the northern areas of the country, a supplement should definitely be considered.
Probiotics — Antibiotics are often necessary to treat Lyme disease, however it is important to protect the good bacteria that make up the majority of your immune system and reside in your gut. The antibiotics will kill the bad guys, in this case the borrelia bacteria, and also the good guys and when good bacteria have decreased in number, you increase your risk of yeast infections and lower your immunity. Increase the consumption of foods that are high in probiotics including kefir, yogurt, kimchi and sauerkraut. You may also want to consider a probiotic supplement.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids — The regular consumption of cold water fish such as salmon and mackerel is protective of your joints and great for the health of your brain and heart. However, a fish oil supplement that is high in the omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA is essential if you don’t eat fish and should be considered if you need a higher, therapeutic dose to fight infection and reduce inflammation.
3. Proper Tick Removal
Since Lyme disease is on the rise, it’s important to remove the tick as soon as possible, ideally on the same day of the bite. It’s crucial that the tick is removed correctly, if removed the wrong way, it can dump its stomach contents along with the harmful bacteria and virus into their victim! Tick'd Off Tick-Remover is designed specifically to quickly, safely and easily remove the tick without damaging it, thus preventing the chance for Lyme disease to transmit.
Once the tick is removed, cleanse the area with mild soapy water and use an antiseptic such as tea tree oil or iodine. See a medical doctor who may prescribe antibiotics as a precautionary measure. However, if Lyme disease is detected late or if you’ve already tried antibiotics and did not respond to the treatment, it is important to consider the other ways to strengthen your immune system and reduce the inflammation.
If you suspect a tick bite, take a look at the patient checklist from Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation assist your doctor in making a correct diagnosis.
Lyme disease can become a chronic, systemic condition if it is not detected and treated early. Look for the signs and seek help from your health care provider immediately if you have been bitten by a tick. Support your immune system with a healthy diet as a foundation and use supplements as necessary to minimize your body’s reaction and to speed up your recovery.