My memories of summers on the east coast involved laying in grass and looking up at clouds rolling by and playing for hours in the woods with my sister. The past few years I have enough run-ins with ticks that that carefree feeling of summer outdoors has been replaced with a, at times, hypervigilance about lymes and other tick borne illnesses. Recent reports show that numbers of people getting infected in the United states has tripled in recent years. While there’s much good advice on basic preventative measures one can take, for me having a basic tick prevention kit that comes with me on any family outing, has helped me navigate this strange new world we are living in.
Making your own Tick Prevention Kit:
1. Get a Pouch– Those who know me, know that I have a weak spot for pouches. But keeping everything in one place makes it easy to grab what you need or store it in your stroller so a trip out of town or into nature can feel more spontaneous.
2. Bug Spray– your first line of defense after dressing appropriately is a good bug spray.
There are many on the market that contain deet, but some people may not want to cover their kids in that everyday. Hannah Springer of the Oliver Weston Company introduced me to Bye-Bye Bugs Organic insect repellent. It even helps keep the insane Shady park mosquitoes away. As with most natural bug repellents I spray both the kids and they clothes and re-apply a few times a day. We now carry this in our office too $15 for a 2oz spray.
3. Tweezers– If you do find a tick that’s embedded you’ll want a good pair of pointed tweezers to help remove the tick. (For instructions on how to do that correctly see here). I’ve had ticks that are so small embed in my kids that I needed a magnifying glass to identify them.
Because of that I also always carry a backlit magnifying glass with me in my kit. It helps put my mind at ease when I do see a small dot on one of my kids.
4. Alcohol pads/Afterbite tincture– If you have removed an embedded tick you want to rub the area down with an alcohol pad. Rather than just using rubbing alcohol I prefer to use tincture, which contains alcohol as well as herbs so you are getting the benefit of both. Calendula or echinacea tincture are good picks, but my favorite is Woodland Essence’s After bite tincture. It’s made by a wonderful herbalist who has been living in Lyme country for over 20 years and is well formulated to provide extra protection. Bonus: It also works great for mosquitoes. We now carry a limited supply at our office- 1oz bottle for $14.
5. Tape– If the tick isn’t deeply embedded it can be easier to get it off by using a strong tape or small lint roller. If you want to send the tick in to have it checked then you can attached the tape with the tick to an index card and you are good to go. Given that 55% of ticks in the wild carry a pathogen, I send any ticks that have embedded for a tick check this way I know what I’m dealing with. The average turn around is 24hrs, more info at www.tickcheck.com.
Have a suggestion to add- let us know! And hopefully being prepared lets you enjoy the bounty of summer just a bit more!