If you live in the northeast you should know by now that Lyme disease runs rampant in our neck of the woods [no pun intended] – and beyond. And it’s not only Lyme that is trickling its way across the country; babesiosis & ehrlichiosis are becoming recognized more and more.
Here’s the quickie on how to keep yourself safe from these diseases this summer and all year long:
Lyme is most commonly transmitted by a tick bite – so the best way to stay safe is to PREVENT the tick bite
- The best way to do that is with bug spray. I’m really not all about spraying my body and inhaling all the chemicals that your typical bug spray contains, so I use Buzz Away Extreme. There are plenty of natural tick repellents but this one has been my favorite so far. The key is the lemongrass essential oil so if you have any of that on hand it won’t hurt to put it on a cotton pad and rub it on your arms and legs or tuck it under your bra strap if you wear one.
- Dressing appropriately to prevent ticks is not that cute – the best tips are to wear long sleeve shirts and pants, with your pants tucked into your socks. Aside from this being the least stylish look, no one wants to wear winter clothes in the 85 degree heat and warm sun. On the flip side, wearing light colored clothing is preferred and light colors are on point with summer.
- The simplest but probably most difficult way to prevent tick bites is to avoid tick infested areas. That means the woods obviously, but also anywhere that has grass and plants – even the BEACH. The best part about summer is getting outdoors and enjoying the warm weather, so for most people this isn’t an option.
These tips are really effective in tick borne disease prevention, but possibly the most important is to check yourself for ticks – and showering to scrub them off before they bite! Ticks can be as small as the period at the end of this sentence, so you really have to be efficient with your search. These little bugs can travel far and wide across your body. I’m not kidding when I say they will go anywhere – as a nurse practitioner student I’ve seen a handful of patients with tick bites in unique places, anywhere from an ear to the precious cargo in your underpants [and seriously, do you want a tick to bite you down there? I think definitely not]
Good luck out there guys
Back in the day when blogs really weren’t a thing, I used to roam Tumblr and facebook and StumbleUpon as “ly2mela”, writing about my healing journey with Lyme and Babesia, but I needed a break..
Within the 6 short weeks of college winter break in 2009, I received a diagnosis of late stage Lyme disease. A diagnosis of Lyme disease means something different to everyone – for me it was a devastating blessing. By this point, I had been sick and misdiagnosed for 4 YEARS. I was literally convinced that I was a hypochondriac. I saw over 15 doctors in a dozen different specialties, I was so happy to have answers.
Fast forward to the fall.. I’m 9 months into antibiotic therapy, dropped out of my dream college ( or so I thought ), fighting through the most severe symptoms I had yet to encounter AND re-started my college career elsewhere ( my actual dream college ). The stress of being in college only exacerbated my illness but I shortly went from afraid to sad to angry that I was sick. I started to blog all the raw feelings and experiences. I really just wanted to try to share the reality of this misunderstood, commonly undiagnosed disease.
Fast forward again – after 2 years of antibiotic therapy and almost another 2 years of care under a homeopathic doctor, I was done with Lyme disease. I don’t mean that I was healed, I hit a plateau of improvement and I basically surrendered. Not only was I done with the disease, I was done with doctors and I was done talking about it. I stopped writing, I left the online communities and I wanted to leave it behind me. I was doing a pretty good job at doing what I intended to do – spread awareness and share a REAL look inside tick-borne diseases – but everything about the illness just felt so negative to me, and I needed to let it go.
So here we are 7 years later – am I still sick? I’m stuck somewhere in between healthy and sick. I don’t feel well, ever. Healing feels like a forever journey but I am SO much better than I was. Health is ever evolving + so is my knowledge. I’ve shifted my health focus to a natural approach and I hate pharmaceuticals ( I’m a nurse who dishes out meds on the daily, I know I’m a hypocrite ) but I’ve also accepted that there are many situations where prescription drugs absolutely necessary – and you would too if you knew what my migraines feel like.
So I took my break from writing and sharing and now I’m full of 7 years of unwritten thoughts, discoveries and feelings. And that’s why I’m back, as healing chic