With Spring fully underway and Summer right around the corner, there is no better time to get outside and enjoy nature! Although many wonderful plants and critters start to emerge from the earth with the warmer weather, so do the ticks. It is always a sobering event to find a tick on yourself or your animal after a beautiful day spent in nature. For all of the Colorado-dwellers and visitors reading this post: ticks and Lyme Disease (among other Tick born illnesses) are prevalent in our territory!
Lyme Disease is a rising issue here in Colorado and across the United States due in large part to climate change and warmer winter seasons. Because we’ve had a particular wet spring in our region, it’s predicted to be an even worse year for ticks and other biting insects. You may have found some already!
Here at Alpine Botanicals, we are observing more and more folks coming in with a professional diagnosis of Lyme Disease and/or a history of tick bites. It is important to be aware of ticks as you explore the outdoors this season and strive to take precautions for protecting yourself, your family, and your furry friends. In this article, we share with you a couple of our favorite natural and herbal tips for tick protection that you can use all season long.
- Do a full body check. Although this might sound obvious, doing a full body check for ticks after being outside (especially if you were in the woods) is one of the best ways to prevent bites! Check yourself, your friends, and your furry ones carefully, separating any hair and fur as you go. By checking as soon as you get home or back to your car after an outdoor adventure, you can try to properly dispose of ticks before they bite and create further issues. Be vigilant about checking dogs and pets that are more free roaming, especially if you have other pets at home that don’t go outside and are also vulnerable once a tick/ticks find their way into your home where they can easily hide in bedding and other hidden areas.
- Save the tick! As much as we’d like to avoid finding a tick on ourselves or anyone else, do yourself and others a favor by SAVING THE TICK! Don’t be tempted to flick it back into the woods or flush it down the toilet. This piece of advice tends to surprise many folks, but with diseases like Lyme on the rise, the most important thing we can do as a community is contribute to the effort to collect real data about which types of Ticks carry infection and which do not. One of our favorite resources for testing is a company out of Fort Collins area called Ticknology. They offer laboratory tick testing on dead or living specimens and can test for a variety of infections and organisms. Read more about their submission guidelines here and consider ordering testing kits ahead of time to save yourself the hassle later on. Their website is also a great resource to learn about proper tick removal and methods to avoid infection around tick bites. (Hint: the matchstick trick is often not the way to go).
Make your own tick-repellent spray. Ticks, along with many other biting insects, hate the scent of certain essential oils, making them useful to repel them when applied topically. You can make a simple tick-repellent spray by blending any of the following essential oils together in a spray bottle and diluting with water, witch hazel, or any other carrier solution you like to use. Some of our favorite oils for insect repelling include:
- Rose geranium
- Tea tree oil
Eucalyptus citriadora (Lemon Eucalyptus)
- When using any kind of essential oil based spray on your animals, be extra sensitive to avoid getting the spray near their eyes or nose. A good method is to apply the spray on your hands then rub or dab it onto their fur, especially the area in between their shoulder blades.
These essential oils can also be diluted in a carrier oil like jojoba or sweet almond oil and rubbed directly onto exposed skin. They can also be made into a salve for easy application. We sell a variety of effective products, including an essential oil concentrate with tick-repelling essential oils in the shop that can be used the same way!
Colorado Tick-Borne Disease Awareness Association is another wonderful resource for getting educated about tick-borne diseases, different tick types, how to properly remove ticks, tick-testing, and more! We are always happy to chat with you at Alpine Botanicals on natural ways you can protect yourself, your family, and your furry friends from ticks this season. Swing by the shop and grab all the materials you need to make your own tick-repellent spray!
Cedarwood and Rosemary are the only two essential oils on your list the are SAFE FOR CATS! Cats are really sensitive! I almost killed my cat using citrus oils-he went into acute pancreatitis and would have died if I did not take him to the vet immediately. Please share this to save a Cat and owner from a broken heart and huge vet bill!