It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since I’ve published on this site. Thankfully, my absence has mostly been due to feeling well enough to enjoy life, including spending time with family and friends. But now that May … Continue reading
National Lyme Disease Expert Dr. Richard Horowitz Sits Down with Senior Managing Editor Dr. Manny Alvarez of Health Talk
May. 06, 2015 – With 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. each year, it’s no surprise that the tick-borne illness has been a hotly debated topic among medical experts. Dr. Manny interviews Dr. Richard Horowitz, New York Times bestselling author of “Why Can’t I Get Better? Solving the Mystery of Lyme and Chronic Disease.” Click here to watch “The Lyme Disease Debate.”
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.
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
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Opossums: Where Lyme disease goes to die
Click here to read more: Opossums and Lyme disease.
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.
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.
I thought I would kick off National Lyme Awareness Month by explaining the lifecycle of a tick. Once you understand this, you will understand why May is such an important month in the world of Lyme disease.
Ticks have four stages to their life cycle: egg, larvae, nymph, and adult. Adult female deer ticks lay eggs on the ground in the Spring.
In the summer, the eggs hatch into larvae. Deer tick larvae have six legs and can be as small as the period at the end of this sentence. The larvae find their first host – typically a bird or rodent – and live off its blood for several days. They then detach and fall back onto the ground.
In the ground, the well-fed larvae now molt into the next stage and are called nymphs. Nymphs have eight legs and are about the size of a poppy seed. They lay dormant for several months over the winter and become active again in the Spring as the weather warms up.
The nymph now finds its second host – a rodent, pet, or human – and feeds again. If the tick is carrying infectious agents ingested from its first feeding, it can now transmit these organisms to its next host. If it wasn’t previously infected, the tick can become so now, if it feeds on the right infected animal.
Once well fed, the nymph detaches and falls back to the ground. Here it molts and changes into an adult. Throughout the fall, both adult male and female ticks now find their third host – a rodent, deer, pet, or human – and feed on blood and mate.
Once well fed, both males and females fall back to the ground. The male now dies and the female lives through the winter and lays eggs in the spring, completing the cycle.
Ticks May Be in Full Force this Season
I know I was expecting this year to be a more positive one for those of us petrified of getting another tick bite. However, experts are saying that the increased amount of snow that fell in the Northeast and Midwest this past winter could actually have helped ticks protect themselves from death. As explained in the following article, the snow might have been like a blanket, which keeps one warm during cold temperatures. Thus, ticks may have been tucked away safe rather than eradicated. This means we will have to be even more diligent as the warm weather approaches. You can read more here: Harsh Weather No Bother for Ticks.