Monday, May 19, 2014

Tick Bite Prevention

New Tick-Borne Disease

A rare viral infection has emerged in the central U.S. The virus causes fever, a drop in the blood’s infection-fighting white cells and a reduction in the blood’s clot-making platelets.

The virus is called Heartland disease — its name honors the Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, Mo., where the first men infected with the virus were treated. The disease was first noticed in June 2009, when two Missouri farmers came to the hospital with severe flu-like symptoms.

Some early cases were reported by Digital Journal earlier in the year. New reports indicated that cases have risen, and there have now been eight confirmed cases.

The virus causes headaches, nausea, high fevers, diarrhea and gut-distress. Blood tests indicate low white-blood-cell counts. The disease appears to be spread by ticks. Through field studies conducted in 2012, researchers identified Lone Star ticks as the way by which the virus was spread, with evidence pointing to their larval blood meal as the time of infection. - DigitalJournal

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I recently received the following email from a reader in reference to prevention of Deer Ticks (Lyme Disease):

I thought that I'd pass this along, as the wooded areas that we frequent contain Deer Ticks. I personally like to treat my clothes with Sawyers Permethrin. Seems to work very well. This is not to be used on your skin however. Just clothing. I've been told that this 'homemade' treatment (below) works effectively on skin and hair, although I've not tried it yet.

"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 favorite essential oil or bath 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. After mixing the solution, spray onto clothing, skin, and hair before going outdoors. Reapply every four hours to keep ticks at bay."

Be safe.

Tom