Day 15: What You Need to Know

Pacific Coast ticks. Photo source: goingslo, Flickr, Creative Commons.

Pacific Coast ticks. Photo source: goingslo, Flickr, Creative Commons.

1. When hiking, try to stick to trails and avoid walking through low bushes and long grass. Avoid tick-infested areas, such as leaf litter under trees. Don’t sit on stumps or fallen logs.
 
2. Try to wear long pants, long sleeves, a hat and gloves. Tuck your pants into your socks.
 
3. Always do a body check after coming in from the outdoors.
 
4. Throw your clothes in the dryer as soon as you come into the house.
 
5. Shower immediately after throwing your clothes in the dryer.
 
6. When finished, do a second tick check.
 
7. If bitten, remove a tick as soon as possible with sharp-tipped tweezers. Gently grasp the tick near its head or mouth. Don’t squeeze or crush the tick, but pull carefully and steadily. Once you’ve removed the entire tick, apply antiseptic to the bite area.
 
removing tick
 
8. Save the tick, seal it in a plastic bag with moist cotton and send it out to Igenex to be tested.
 
9. Do your best to tick-proof your yard. Keep grass short. Clear brush and leaves where ticks live. Use an edger to create a barren zone around your yard. If you must have a woodpile, keep it in a sunny area.
 
10. Flulike symptoms in the summer are typically not the flu. If you are experiencing them, get to the doctor immediately to make sure it is not Lyme disease.
 
11. If you suspect you have Lyme disease, ask your to diagnose you clinically and not to rely on the presence or absence of a bulls-eye rash or positive Elisa and Western Blot tests. These tests are too insensitive to be the deciding factor and thus a negative test does not ensure one does not have Lyme disease.
 
12. If he/she does a test, ask him to do a Western Blot test from the California-based company called Igenex rather than the typical mardx marblot Western Blot.
 
 
Read the following article to see what bug sprays Consumer Reports recommends. The Best Bug Sprays

Day 6: Did you Know?

tick3 meals
 
Ticks generally have only three meals in their entire lifetime. The first meal prompts the metamorphosis from larva to nymph and the second from nymph to adult. The third meal prepares the female tick for laying her eggs.
 
Spreen, K. (2014-05-06). Compendium of Tick-Borne Disease: A Thousand Pearls (Kindle Locations 849-850). Pocopson Publishing, LLC. Kindle Edition.

Did You Know? Day 4

masquerade

Called the Great Masquerader, Lyme disease and its co-infections can mimic over 300 other diseases, including ALS, Alzheimer’s, Anxiety and other psychological disorders, Candida, Cardiac diseases, Chronic Fatigue (ME/CFS), Fibromyalgia, Gastrointestinal disorders, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Lupus, and MS.

Given that Lyme disease tests are unreliable oftentimes coming back negative, physicians rule it out and continue to explore other diseases. Thus, having a doctor who knows how to diagnose this disease clinically and who understands that Lyme disease tests are highly insensitive is crucial.

Under Our Skin, Lyme Disease Organization

Day 3: Did You Know?

tickmouth2

The mouth parts of the tick are essential to its survival and quite dangerous for humans. The outside portions of a tick’s mouth contain two moveable palps. It uses these palps to feel across the skin so that it can find the perfect spot. It then punctures the skin using a pair of telescoping shafts equipped with a bundle of fingers armed with hooklike barbs called chelicerae. This bundle of fingers can bend at the joint. Then, like arms bending at the elbows, the bundle bends backward in a series of breaststroke motions. The chelicerae open the skin for insertion of a harpoon-like structure with serrated edges — the hypostome.

Once the hypostome, along with the chelicerae, are inserted, the tick is ready to feed. Since the hypostome has projections that hook backward, the hypostome anchors the tick to the host. This is why the tick can be so hard to remove and why a tiny bit of flesh often exits the host along with the tick when it is removed.

Video showing how a tick penetrates its host

Huffington Post

Spreen, K. (2014-05-06). Compendium of Tick-Borne Disease: A Thousand Pearls (Kindle Locations 869-871). Pocopson Publishing, LLC. Kindle Edition.

Day 2: Did You Know?

tickonbladeofgrass

Ticks find someone or something to feed on through a process called questing. Ticks lay in leaf litter, crawl up the stems of grass or perch on the edge of a plant with their front legs extended. Here they wait until they are stimulated by certain chemicals like CO2 that are exhaled from their prey. They also respond to the heat and movement of the passerby.

Some animals, like deer and humans, apparently, release pheromones that attract the tick. When a warm, exhaling, potential host brushes by, the tick grabs on and settles onto the host. The tick snags the host’s fur, hair, clothing, or skin with its barbed front legs.

Compendium of Tick-Borne Disease