Natural Tick Protection
Spring is around the corner! Time for camping, hiking, gardening and TICK season in Australia.
Natural repellent for your pets:
For pets: add 1 cup of water to a spray bottle, followed by 2 cups of distilled white vinegar. Ticks hate the smell and taste of vinegar, and will be easily be repelled by this ingredient alone. Then, add two spoonfuls of vegetable or almond oil, which both contain sulfur (another natural tick repellent).
To make a repellent that will also deter fleas, mix in a few spoonfuls of lemon juice, citrus oil, or peppermint oil, any of which will repel ticks and fleas while also creating a nicely scented repellent. Spray onto the pet’s dry coat, staying away from sensitive areas including eyes, nose, mouth, and genitals. When outdoors for an extended period, spray this solution on two to three times per day.
Natural repellent for the family:
In a spray bottle, mix 2 cups of distilled white vinegar and 1 cup of water. To make a scented solution so you do not smell like bitter vinegar all day, add 20 drops of your favourite essential oil.
Eucalyptus oil is a calm, soothing scent that also works as a tick repellent, while peppermint and citrus oils give off a strong crisp scent that also repel ticks. Lavender also works well.
After mixing the solution…spray onto clothing, skin, and hair before going outdoors. Reapply every four hours to keep ticks at bay, and examine your skin and hair when back inside to make sure no ticks are on the body.
It’s important to get the word spread about the dangers of Ticks and how to avoid them!
Generally the ticks that cause Lyme Disease in the USA carry the Borrelia Burgdorferi bacteria in their gut, whilst in Europe it is often the Borrelia Afzelii – These bacteria cause Lyme Disase. Currently research is underway in Australia to isolate exactly the type of tick and the specific bacteria that is causing Lyme disease here (there are at least 14 different types of bacteria that cause Lyme Disease identified world wide).
Most of the ticks that infect people with Lyme Disease are in the nymphal, or immature stage of development & are about the size of a poppy seed, which means that many people do not remember a tick bite.
Certain places in Australia are known Lyme Disease tick hot spots. In NSW, areas such as around Coffs Harbour, in the northern beaches area of Sydney (as well as the Western suburbs of Sydney), and the South Coast of NSW. The LDAA is in the process of mapping instances of Lyme Disease & known locations of tick bites that led to Lyme Disease & hope to be able to better identify endemic areas of infection in ticks (& humans).
Paralysis ticks are dangerous parasites, causing paralysis and even death, harming thousands of dogs in Australia every year. Ticks, in general can have adverse affects on dogs including anaemia from blood loss, allergic reactions and physical damage or irritation to the skin.
The female paralysis tick when attached to your dog causes paralysis tick toxicity. Once attached it begins to feed by burrowing its mouth parts into the dogs skin and sucking blood. After attachment and feeding it starts to produce a potent toxin that affects the dog’s central nervous system and causes progressive paralysis and possibly death.
An anti-serum is available to treat tick paralysis, however treatment is expensive and very much dependent on early identification of symptoms by the owner and immediate veterinary attention.
Tick paralysis is most likely to be seen in children. The initial symptoms of tick paralysis may include unsteady gait, increased weakness of the limbs, multiple rashes, headache, fever, flu like symptoms, tenderness of lymph nodes, and partial facial paralysis. Tick paralysis develops slowly as the tick engorges, which will take several days. Despite the removal of the tick, the patient’s condition typically will continue to deteriorate for a time and recovery is often slow. Undetected ticks are another possible reason for any prologed debilitation and should always remain a concern. Improvements in modern medicine and the development of a tick antitoxin have prevented further deaths from tick paralysis in the last 70 years. The antitoxin is available from the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories. Despite these developments, a few cases of tick paralysis in children are seen at major hospitals each year. Additionally, ticks take a high toll on pets every summer.
How do you remove ticks?
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you cover the tick in metho, rubbing alcohol, bi-carb soda, Vaseline, or burn it with a match – this will make the tick release spirochetes-containing lyme disease (as well as other organisms and disease) into your blood stream.
- Use fine-point tweezers or a special tick-removing tool. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. If you don’t have tweezers, protect your fingers with a tissue.
- Pull the tick straight out with steady, even pressure. Click here to view a tick’s mouth and why it is so important to pull out the tick correctly.
- Avoid squeezing the tick, breaking it, or allowing any blood to remain on your skin.
- Place the tick in a small plastic bag or vial with blades of grass, leaf, or moist (not wet) piece of tissue.
- Label the bag with your name, date, site of bite and how long tick was attached.
- Have the tick identified and tested by a lab, health department or veterinarian.
- Wash your hands, disinfect the tweezers and bite site.
Educate yourself about tick-borne diseases and consult a doctor to see if treatment is warranted. Prevention is always the best cure.