Day 140/365 - On ticks and Lyme

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5/20/17

Speaking of ticks (continued from yesterday’s post), that has become increasingly alarming for folks camping or living in the country. I hear repeated stories from people living on farms and upstate that the growth of ticks is increasing, as is the rate of Lyme infection within the human population. This is one of the most concerning things about a camping trip for me. I’m paranoid of tick bites because they now carry so many infections and coinfections that are almost impossible to get rid of, and have the possibility of becoming chronic. Besides Lyme (caused by Borrelia species of bacteria), Babesiosis, Erlichiosis, Anaplasmosis and Rocky Spotted Mountain Fever (see chart here) are some of the infections carried by the smaller deer ticks; while the larger dog ticks don’t carry Lyme, they do carry some of the coinfections.

As a precaution, I recommend wearing long sleeves and pants, and covered shoes, as well as doing full body checks at least twice daily when in the country. That means someone may need to help examine the parts of your body not easily accessible - and while that may be initially uncomfortable, you’ll be grateful for the extra pair of eyes in the long run. If you do have a tick feeding on you, don’t panic! Just grab a pair of sturdy tweezers, get a good grasp of the body of the tick, and with a steady hand pull it all the way out, including the head. Then either behead the leecher or burn it, as those are the only ways to kill these primordial creatures. Next cover the bite with either a tincture of propolis, echinacea, or adrographis, and lastly with moist bentonite clay to help draw any possible infection out. Also take a couple of dropperfuls of the tinctures internally to help boost your immune system. Another good herb to take as soon as there is suspicion of a bite or infection is Japanese knotweed. The probability of the infection, if any, spreading through the host is proportional to the host’s defenses. The more intact the immune and endocrine systems are, the healthier and stronger the defenses, which may nip the infection in the bud at the onset. However, if the host is somehow immunocompromised, including chronic or acute stress, there’s a possibility of the infection striking the most susceptible ‘weak spots’ - such as joints or the site of an old injury.

There are more in depth herbal protocols for fighting both acute phases of infection and helping to deal with the chronic illness if it develops. The most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to take preventative measures, strengthen your immune and endocrine systems, and take action as soon as possible if infection is suspected. Follow up with a doctor or herbalist immediately if there is suspicion of acute or chronic Lyme symptoms, or anything out of the ordinary after a pleasant trip to the country. Alas, there can be nasty bugs even out in nature, and we need to be informed and ready for them.