What is Lyme?

Simply put, Lyme disease is an illness you get from a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. You can contract this bacteria from the bite of a tick. Black legged or deer ticks are most commonly associated with carrying this corkscrew shaped bacteria, but not all ticks are infected. On the flip side, ticks can carry more than one infection at a time, thus leaving us susceptible to any or all of the common co-infections.

There is a lot of controversy about whether you can contract this illness from other sources, such as mosquitoes. It has not been confirmed whether this is possible, though mosquitoes do have a reputation for carrying unwanted disease. Those pesky creatures also enjoy feasting on our nutritious blood. Either way, I’m not interested in hosting that kind of a party!

How will you know if you’ve been bitten?

It can be difficult to know if you have been bitten by a tick for a couple of reasons. First, ticks can be quite small when they initially attach to their host (1-5mm in length). Second, you probably won’t even feel the bite.

In 2012, Public Health Ontario published updated information about Lyme disease prevention and control. They indicated that an infected tick must attach and feed on its host for 24 to 36 hours before the host can be infected with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

If you’ve been hanging out in rural areas you should check yourself daily for any unwanted hitchhikers. Remember these guys are small and they especially like the scalp, armpits and groin area but could be anywhere on your body. If you can, get someone to help you check your backside.

How can you protect yourself?

I would also like you to know that there is a natural essential oil that is known to deter ticks from attaching to you in the first place. It is called rose geranium oil. You can put a little bit of this oil into a carrier oil and apply over your body before you go out. If you prefer to just purchase something already made up for you, you can contact my clinic. We have put together an all-natural insect repellent made with essential oils and mixed into a water base. The handy spray bottle makes it easy to apply.

You know what they say…an ounce of prevention!

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