(Last updated March 2017. Here’s what I do, but don’t listen to me! Ask you doctor!)
OK, here is a quick list of options. This is based on our family’s experience in dealing with Lyme with 2 family members and Anaplasma for our family dog.
1. Move. I am not kidding. Check out the maps of ticks and lyme! There is nowhere you can escape ticks 100%, but 10x fewer ticks would be better! So… the desert. Or very far north where there is snow more often. (Snow is the only thing that really keeps the ticks away… covering them up… not killing them.) Very cold temps don’t bother ticks. Just covering them up in snow.
Any of these other options are not going to be as effective as moving, but here are the things I’ve learned which can help.
2. No outdoor cats. You can’t put permethrin on cats like you can with dogs (Advantix) because it kills cats. So guess what… cats will usually bring in TONS of ticks.
3. Give away your dog. Not going to happen? We didn’t either. But we should. At least use Advantix at least monthly. And don’t sleep with your dog! The ticks don’t die immediately.
4. Soak or spray your clothes and shoes with Permethrin. We use THIS ONE. At least do shoes, socks, and jeans/pants/sweats.
5. Use essential oils (We use THIS ONE which is a mixture recommended by Stephen Buhner called “Lyme Armour” from Montana Farmacy.)
6. Follow Stephen Buhner’s other recommendations for preventative herbs.
Astragalus, etc. This helps build up your immune system so that you are less susceptible to Lyme.
7. Tick checks! Every day! Like brushing teeth! If kids were doing something especially crazy like playing in a big pile of leaves, have them take a shower, just in case.
IF A TICK HAPPENS
8. Have on hand the herbs/tinctures that Buhner recommends if a tick bite happens. Also have a tick puller. We use THIS ONE from Coghlans, but there are many at Amazon with good reviews.
9. Send it to the UMass Tick Lab for testing. Some towns in MA even have blanket pricing so it will be free.
10. Take a prophalactic dose of anti-biotics while you wait for the test results. Follow the 2006 Guidelines described HERE.
11. DO NOT WAIT FOR SYMPTOMS. Bulls-eye is RARE in my experience. Our family has had all sorts of tricky symptoms. Headaches, tooth pain, getting sick all the time (colds, Shingles, EBV/Mono), Gastrointestinal problems. Buhner has huge lists of possible symptoms in his excellent books.
12. Do antibiotics. But also do Buhner herbs. They work together.
13. If you’ve had symptoms for a while before you treat, especially if you have stomach/GI issues, assume you have parasites, and treat these too. A herbalist with experience in Lyme will steer you in the right direction, but we’ve had good luck with a protocol based on the Clark Parasite Cleanse herbs. CLICK HERE for more information on that. The testing for parasites is AWFUL. We did 2 different very expensive tests which both came back negative even though we have been getting better on the herbal cleanse! Checking your stools and just taking the herbs regardless (and again every few months) is the way to go. We de-worm dogs and horses regularly. We should with people too! No big deal!
14. I’ve mentioned Stephen Buhner about a million times now. Read his books! At least start with the one on Lyme (“Healing Lyme”) and his recommended protocols, but maybe the ones on the other possible tick-based diseases too. They are invaluable! CLICK HERE for a list of all of his books. He also has great information (with pub med references) about what anti-biotic treatments are effective and which not and which are helped by the herbs. The invasive Japanese Knotweed is actually your friend. Now when I see it growing on the side of the road I give thanks instead of cursing it! You will too!
15. The easiest things to do that I think seem to help are 1) home-made tick-tubes using cotton soaked in Permethrin. 2) tick-drags using a white sheet/flannel and manually pulling the ticks off. 3) we also spray EcoSmart essential oils every few weeks. The problem is that your yard (if you have one) is small compared to the rest of the world. You can’t probably get your whole neighborhood or the kids’ school to do anything. So that’s where #1 (MOVE!) comes in.
16. If you have grass, mow short. And keep the leaves at bay. Take a shower and check for ticks after you are done working on the yard!
17. Is the area you want to go in an endemic tick area on THE MAP? Cape Cod? No! Parts of Maine… YES! It makes a HUGE difference. In parts of Maine that are pretty empty on the map, we have indeed vacationed for several years with NO TICKS! Not one!
OK, so that’s it! Let me know what I forgot and good luck! Oh, and you are going to need a few pill organizers. HERE’S ONE I use to organize things, but you just have to come up with a system that works for you.