What To Do If Your Child Gets A Tick (video interview)
"What do I do if I find a tick on my child??" It's on everybody's mind around where I live this time of year.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr Jesse Pierce about Lyme disease - how to prevent it, what we need to do about ticks, what we can do ourselves, when to get help, how it's treated.
Dr Pierce has been our lyme doc for years so I can tell you... her knowledge is extensive.
My goal with this interview was to help parents feel more confident about lyme by helping them better understand prevention and treatment options.
Scroll down to see highlights, a natural tick repellant recipe and what to carry with you in a first aid kit.
Find Dr Jesse Pierce at:
- Lyme symptoms vary a great deal from person to person, in part because there are several strains of the lyme bacteria itself (which is called Borrelia) and there are also other infections that can get transmitted at the same time as Borrelia (these are called co-infections and include Bartonella, Babesia and others). Each bacteria creates different symptoms in the body
- Lyme is everywhere. There is no longer an area that is "lyme-free"
- Lyme and coinfections can be transmitted by ticks as well as fleas, spiders and other biting insects
- The current test (in Ontario where she practices) tests only for a few strains of the Borrelia bacteria.
- If there is a "bullseye" rash at the site of a tick bite, there is a Borrelia infection. This happens in 30% of cases. Go to the doctor ASAP for antibiotics.
- If there is no rash, or if you did not see a tick, some of the other symptoms to look out for are:
- joint pain (especially pain that moves around the body),
- low or high fever,
- neurological symptoms that have no other explanation (forgetfulness, headaches, regression in learning, numbness in parts of the body, bell's palsy in the face, OCD-like behaviour, increased agitation and anxiety, sleep disturbances....).
If you see this sort of thing after potential exposure, head to your doctor and be sure to tell them about possible tick exposure.
- Antibiotics, when given in the first 4 weeks after infection, are very effective agains Borrelia but they don't always get the co-infections.
- Antibiotics can be supported with herbs that treat co-infections for a very powerful treatment-team (a few specifics were mentioned in the interview - most NDs know about them and can help you access them).
- Probiotics and other support for the gut can mitigate the stress and damage of antibiotics, should you need them
(related post: 6 ways to support digestion in kids)
Should you find a tick, here's what to do:
remove it carefully with tweezers (so you get the head), try to keep it so it can be tested later if necessary. Use special tick tweezers if you can
treat the skin topically with a poultice of Colloidal silver and activated charcoal (under a bandaid) to try to pull any bacteria out. Change that daily.
Give a few doses of the homeopathic remedy Ledum throughout the day, which helps push the bacteria out.
Go to your doctor as soon as possible for an assessment of the situation.
- There are two places you can get your tick tested (that I know of) for about $50
Tick Repellent Recipe:
Essential oils of Lemon Eucalyptus, Rose Geranium, Peppermint, and Bergamot effectively repel ticks.
Mix a combination of those (to total 20-40 drops) with 2 oz water + 2 oz witch hazel or vodka or apple cider vinegar into a spray bottle to use as a repellant
What To Keep In Your First Aid Kit:
(If you're in Canada, you can see the supplement brands I recommend in my dispensary listed under the lyme category)
a set of very sharp tweezers so you can carefully remove the tick (or special tick removers)
a plastic bag so you can keep the tick if you find it and it can be tested if need be
colloidal silver spray (get this as a spray for ease of use it as a topical antibiotic on the site of the tick bite)
activated charcoal capsules (open them up and mix into the silver on top of the bite area to help pull out infection)
bandaids to cover the bite site
Ledum 1MK or 200ch (a homeopathic remedy that helps push infection out of the body; give this after a tick bite until you can get medical help. Get it at any good health food store that sells supplements)
a pen (draw a circle around the bite area so you can remember where it was and monitor it)
Deep Immune For Kids (use this to give the immune system some support until you can get to medical help)
The Bottom Line
We should all be aware about lyme, but I hope our concern will lead us to strategy rather than panic. It's important to know what infection looks like and what your options for treatment are.
But the best thing to focus on is supporting the resilience of your child's body. The strength of the immune system is a key factor in how the body will respond to lyme and lyme co-infections, should it contract the bacteria.
The first thing to do is make sure your child is eating, sleeping and pooping. That trifecta is so important that it's always the first thing I focus on.
(related post: The Foundational Trifecta For Resilient Health)
From there, continue to integrate the Pillars Of Resilient Health into your lifestyle - good nourishment, reduced stress, good digestive health.
(related post: The Secret To Good Health, Calm & Confidence)
If you need a fantastic doc, connect with Dr Jesse at BioHeal Ottawa.