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Tick Time

May 14, 2010

Tags: order, antibiotics, babesiosis, citronella, Colorado tick fever, Ehrlichiosis, fever, GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract), headache, joint pains, lemon grass, Lyme, meningo-encephalitis, nerve palsy, palsy, peppermint oil, rash, probiotic, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, stiff neck, tick-borne diseases, Tick Time, tularemia

A few years ago, our son returned from camp with fever, stiff neck and the worst headache of his life. It took me a second to decide that this was NOT a case for natural medicine and to ship him of to the ER immediately.

Well, he was misdiagnosed, initially. I sat at his hospital bed and saw him slip away. But then a good doctor appeared and made the life-saving diagnosis (I would not have known, not even for the life of my son, I was so thinking-impaired): tularemia. A few days of antibiotics, and our son was fine. A scary experience, more for us than for him - because of his delirium, he has nearly all forgotten.

Tularemia is one of several tick-borne diseases - none of them nice – probably the least likely of them, about one hundred cases a year in the United States. Much more common are: Lyme, Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, relapsing fever; babesiosis; meningo-encephalitis and Colorado tick fever.

What to do about ticks? All winter those little creatures have been waiting for us, starved for attention – and our blood.

If you go outdoors, you are exposed. Ticks sit on grasses and bushes, ready to drop on us any time. This is what you can do:

• Have a high suspicion: Check yourself for ticks every evening, on your scalp, in body folds, behind the ears.
• Wear long sleeved gear and tucking in pants into socks helps deter them. Light colors are recommended – not sure because ticks like dark colors or that you can better detect them on light colors.
• Wear natural repellents: Citronella, lemon grass, peppermint oil.
• Eat garlic – not sure it works … but then again, it repels vampires.
• For Lyme disease, a tick has to be lodged into your skin for about twenty-four hours before transmitting disease. For tularemia, alas, just a little nick and a trace of saliva suffices.
• Remove ticks immediately (a little tea tree oil or other essential oils will make them relinquish their feeding place voluntarily).
• Watch for symptoms like rashes, fever, joint pains, stiff neck, headaches, nerve palsies, and go to an ER straight away.
• If put on a antibiotic, take it all to the end - untreated, these diseases can lead to life-long debilitation. If it was me, I would also take some GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract), just to be on the safe side. Also take a probiotic while on antibiotic to protect your gut.

And no, our son did not get bitten by a tick in camp - it happened before and closer to home, in Concord, MA.
Aspen eyes, by Peggy Peters

Iguazu Falls, by Xin Liu

Alexa Fleckenstein M.D. 2012, by Lolita Parker jr.

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