Talking Ticks with Dr. Casey Kelley
In honor of Lyme Disease Awareness Month, Dr. Casey Kelley talked ticks and how to protect yourself with Ranger Ready Repellents.
With the Spring and Summer creating a very welcoming environment for ticks to run free- what are some of the measures that you and your family take to prevent tick bites?
Prior to spending any time outside, proper protective and preventive measures are invaluable. Make sure to wear a non-toxic EPA-registered tick repellent and spray your clothes with Permethrin (like Ranger Ready's Picaridin 20% body-worn repellent and Permethrin 0.5% clothing treatment). This CDC recommended action provides dual layers of protection against ticks. Particularly for activities such as hiking, wear long pants and sleeves, and tuck your socks into your pants for extra protection- I would like to think of this as a very fashionable move. If you have long hair, make sure to pull it back, and wear a hat!
No matter what, when you’re finished up outside, always make sure to give yourself and your loved ones a thorough tick check. Make sure to include under the arms, in and around the ears, behind the knees, and in and around your hair. Whether you’ve gone for a long hike, or simply spent time gardening or golfing- a tick check is absolutely essential.
Always check for ticks when you come back from an outdoor adventure
Now- we all know that you can take all of the preventative measures in the world, and still somehow find a tick on us. If you find a tick on you- what should you do?
Remove the tick immediately, with a pair of fine nosed tweezers. Then, while you may be tempted to toss the tick away as fast as you can- don’t. Make sure to save your tick, and send it in for testing! Sites such as ticknology.com, or tickreport.com are great places to start. Most importantly, if you find a tick, monitor yourself for symptoms and book an appointment with your primary care physician. With a disease such as Lyme, it’s extremely important to begin treatment as soon as possible. If your primary case physician is unaware of the threats of tick-borne disease, research “Lyme Literate MD’s” in your area.
Casey Kelley, MD is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM), the Treasurer on the board of the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), Founding Member of the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM), faculty at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, and Founder of Case Integrative Health.
Is there anything new or different that we should be aware of in relation to ticks and tick-borne diseases for the Spring and Summer of 2022?
Currently, we are seeing increased surveillance of Deer Tick Virus, for the most part, but not limited to, the East Coast. Deer Tick Virus, also classified as Powassan Virus, can often be found in Blacklegged ticks. Initial symptoms are very similar to that of other tick-borne illnesses- like a fever, chills and sore muscles. It can progress into encephalitis and meningitis if left undiagnosed and/or untreated.
We are also seeing an increase in Lone Star Tick activity (they aren’t named after the Lone Star state of Texas, but because of the white dot on their back) - these ticks have made their way across the country, including the Midwest. Lone Star Ticks are known to carry Heartland Virus- once again, the symptoms are similar to that of other tick-borne illnesses including a fever, diarrhea and pain in your muscles. They are also associated with alpha-gal allergies (an allergy and potentially anaphylactic reaction to all animal meat). Yet another reason to be tick aware!