Are insects and ticks ruining your Summer? Protect against insect borne disease!

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Want to enjoy your summer, but frightened by bugs and ticks? Protect yourself against insect borne disease!

It’s finally Summer!! And while that sweet sunshine feels sooo good, those pesky bug bites and ticks can certainly make you want to turn around and go right back inside. So how do you enjoy the great outdoors this summer without losing sleep over the possibility of Lyme and other insect borne diseases? Below are some ways to protect yourself.

  1. Create a barrier with clothing.

    1. If it’s not TOO hot, consider wearing a long sleeved shirt tucked into long pants. Tuck your pants into your socks to create a barrier. Try to wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your head, neck, and shoulders.

  2. Check yourself when re-entering your home.

    1. Try to remove your clothes as soon as possible. You can place your clothes in the dryer for 15 minutes before washing to kill ticks. Try to shower as soon as possible and scrub your body in circular motions to remove small insects which may not be visible. Be sure to check your pets as well!

  3. Use bug sprays

    1. Check EPA regulations on various sunscreens to avoid exposures to toxins

    2. Some alternatives to DEET include:

      1. Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus*

        1. P-Menthane-3,8-diol (PMD) is the active compound. PMD is registered with the EPA as a biochemical pesticide effective against both ticks and mosquitoes, and has been shown to be as effective as DEET in similar concentrations but at a lesser duration. It is not recommended for children under the age of three.

      2. Nootkatone* 

        1. An aromatic compound found in grapefruit skins. Studies have shown that it is highly effective at repelling ticks and is currently undergoing testing for its ability to repel mosquitoes carrying Zika.

      3. Picaridin 

        1. Developed in the 1980’s to mimic piperine, a compound found in black pepper. It has been used in the United States since 2005, but was widely used previously in Europe and Australia. It has been shown to be as effective as DEET in repelling mosquitoes, and will also repel ticks. Picaridin is odorless, non-greasy, and does not melt plastic. Less side effects have been seen in picaridin than in DEET, and there also seems to be less concerns about using picaridin with children over 6 months.

      4. Permethrin 

        1. An insecticide that isn’t applied directly to skin but can be applied to clothing, shoes and bags, and will last through several washes. Permethrin is neurotoxic to insects including ticks, causing muscle spasms, paralysis, and death when insects eat or touch the chemical.

  4. Keep your immune system strong!

    1. While the above methods prevent insect bites, if one does happen to get through your layers of protection, having a healthy immune system means you will be able to better fight off an insect borne infection. Here is a link to one of our previous posts on boosting your immune system!


PIM wants to hear from you! Do you have an experience with lyme or other insect borne illnesses? Do you find this article helpful? Share your thoughts in the comments below!



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Resources: 


Fitzgerald, Kara. “How to Reduce the Risk of Tick and Mosquito-Borne Illnesses and Still Enjoy the Great Outdoors.” Kara Fitzgerald ND Naturopathic Doctor, 30 Apr. 2019, www.drkarafitzgerald.com/2018/07/24/how-to-reduce-the-risk-of-tick-and-mosquito-borne-illnesses-and-still-enjoy-the-great-outdoors/.

Griffin, R. Morgan. “Natural Insect Repellent: Nontoxic Options for Insect Control.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/safer-bug-spray-natural-bug-repellents#1.

“NootkaShield™ Nootkatone.” Evolva, 19 Dec. 2018, www.evolva.com/nootkashield/.

“Picaridin.” National Pesticide Information Center, npic.orst.edu/factsheets/PicaridinGen.html.

“Repellent-Treated Clothing.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 28 Mar. 2017, www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/repellent-treated-clothing.