Monday, March 5, 2018

TICK TALK

     It's only March and the ticks are already out here on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. As much as I love the Spring and Fall, it is also a scary time of year because that is generally when ticks are active. If you live somewhere ticks don't, then you may not be aware that ticks can transmit a very dangerous illness called "Lyme Disease." There is no cure for it, although treatments are quite effective. 
I'm going to share some information about ticks, and what you can do preventatively to avoid being affected by them.


Lyme Symptoms (not a full list and not limited to):
*Body Aches                           
*Joint Pain
*Fatigue                                   
*Heart Issues
*Stiffness                                 
*Flu Symptoms
*Memory Loss                         
*Anxiety/Depression
*Headaches                             
*Twitching
*Brain Fog                                
*Sleep Issues
*Gastrointestinal Symptoms (stomach/digestive)
*Neuropathy (never pain, numbness, hot/cold sensations, tingling)

Most people look for a bull's eye type of rash that appears at the site of the tick bite, but apparently this doesn't always appear.

Here are some tips to avoid getting bitten by a tick: (taken from http://www.lymedisease.org):

*Dress Defensively: Wear long pants/sleeves, light clothing (to spot ticks easier).
*Check for Ticks Everyday: Seems simple but important! Look in hidden places (ears belly, scalp).
*Avoid Tick Habitats: This doesn’t mean to avoid hiking all together. Rather, stick to the cleared trails rather than the tall grassy areas.
*Check Your Pets: See if there are tick-prevention options for your pets; they can be a magnet for ticks when outside.
*Wear Repellent: See recipe below to make your own effective, toxic-free tick repellent.

TICK REPELLANT
As much as I loathe ticks and the potential risks associated by being bitten by one, I am still hesitant to use chemical insect repellants, especially on my children. 

Why Not DEET?

     N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) is the usual go-to for commercial bug spray. It’s incredibly controversial, and for good reason. Recently Dr. Abou Donia, a Duke University pharmacologist, found that “rats treated with an average human dose of DEET (40 mg/kg body weight) performed far worse than control rats when challenged with physical tasks requiring muscle control, strength and coordination.” 
     In the same study, Dr. Abou Donia found that DEET caused “neurons to die in regions of the brain that control muscle movement, learning, memory and concentration.” The pharmacologist says that children are at a higher risk for brain changes after DEET exposure because their skin absorbs it more readily.
     Fortunately, there’s a natural alternative. It has been found that GERANIUM ESSENTIAL OIL works comparably to DEET in repelling ticks. The species used (Pelargonium graveolens) comes from a French island and is only produced in very small quantities. The Geranium essential oil Young Living sells is this species.

Additional essential oils that repel ticks:
CITRONELLA, EUCALYPTUS, CLOVE, OREGANO, CEDARWOOD
    
Should I mix my essential oils with oil or water?
It’s really up to you. Water-based formulas can be sprayed on skin or clothing without causing oiliness. On the other hand, oil-based formulas require fewer applications than water-based versions because they last longer. Lotion lasts longer than water-based formulas and is less oily than oil-based formulas, but it’s not as easy to apply. I’ve included options for all three below.

NATURAL TICK REPELLANTS
     These recipes are targeted specifically toward ticks, but is also helpful with mosquitos.  They are safe for children over two and pregnant/nursing mamas. (Note: For children under two you can spray their clothes when we are going outside.)

WATER-BASED INSECT REPELLANT

100 ml apple cider vinegar, witch hazel or vodka 

100 ml  water

40-80 drops of any of the essential oils mentioned above, or a combination thereof
Optional – 1/2 teaspoon glycerin to help the scent last longer

Method: Because essential oils don’t mix well with water, start by adding your geranium oil to the apple cider vinegar, witch hazel or vodka. Add a squirt of castile soap if desired and allow it to sit for a couple of minutes before giving the mixture a stir. This will disperse the essential oil in the liquid. Add water and pour into a spray bottle, preferably one made of glass. (Essential oils can leach chemicals from some plastics, and we don’t want that!)
Shake well before use. Spray on skin or clothes before going outside.
LOTION-BASED VERSION
2 ounces natural unscented body lotion 
20-40 drops Young Living Geranium essential oil
Method: Mix lotion and essential oils together and add to a bottle, . Store in a cool, dark area when not in use. Should last 2-3 months.
Apply directly on skin before going outdoors.
OIL-BASED VERSION

2 ounces liquid oil such a jojoba (which is non-greasy), olive, etc. 

20-40 drops Young Living Geranium essential oil 

Method: Mix oil and essential oils together and add to a spray bottle, or better yet an oil mister that is less likely to clog. Store in a cool, dark area when not in use. Should last 2-3 months.
Spray directly on skin before going outdoors.
In order for essential  oils to be effective they need to be Therapeutic Grade ~ I only use and recommend YOUNG LIVING ESSENTIAL OILS. To become a member and order the essential oils listed in this post click HERE

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