TICKS AND LYME DISEASE:
An Ounce of Prevention
Prepared by Sandra Winter
We might as well say it: we’re camping in an environment where there are ticks, and some ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease. There is a lot of misinformation and fear about all this, but here are some people at the camp who can talk with you in more detail: Anna Christina, Lanie Garner-Winter, Michael Rodolfo and Sandra Winter. There are many people who’ve been coming to this event for years and have never had Lyme Disease and a number of us who have gotten it and had it treated successfully. But you should know and understand the risks. Lyme is a serious condition that is easy to prevent. If not prevented or detected early on, it can have serious consequences for your health. So please take it seriously and follow the suggested guidelines. Your health and safety matter to us!
Your best strategy to avoid Lyme Disease is to use the following precautions:
1) Dress defensively. It’s warm. Of course you want to wear clothing suitable for the weather. But for your safety, it is suggested that you wear clothing that covers your legs, especially if you’re going to be in high grass or underbrush, and that you wear shoes that cover your feet, as well as socks. When wearing pants, it is suggested that you tuck your pants into your socks. Hats are also a smart addition. Make sure that you use repellent on your clothing and on all exposed areas.
2) Repellent. We believe in being kind to the earth around here, so while you are welcome to use your favorite bug repellent that has chemicals, there are many excellent non-chemical repellents that are effective and do not harm the environment or have scary side-effects on you or the environment. Some of us make our own repellents that have an excellent track record and are sharing extra repellent at the tick check station. You can also check out easy recipes so you can make your own at this site: http://bit.ly/1knc6k4
3) Tick checks. We have a tick check station with a full length mirror, tweezers and supplies to help you check for ticks and remove them safely. If you find a tick on yourself or someone else, don’t panic. And if you’re not sure how to remove it safely, please see one of our designated health helpers in the community. You should check yourself at least once daily.
Resources / Links: The Center for Disease Control (CDC), Excellent brochure on ticks and Lyme put out by Rhode Island Parks and Recreation at http://1.usa.gov/1ntahgi; lymediseaseassociation.org,canlyme.com