I took ill when I was 28 years old and wasn’t recovering. I went from being an active triathlete to barely being able to get out of bed. I had pain all over my body. My joints and muscles ached and I had migraines that were relentless. I had a constellation of other symptoms that would take too long to recount in this document. It took 8 months to finally get a diagnosis. Finally, in 1993 I got the bad news, I had Lyme Disease. I had very little understanding of Lyme disease and its many ramifications at the time. I was in a state of shock as I was told to get my affairs in order, that I would very likely die soon. I didn’t even remember the tick bite and I never saw a bulls-eye rash, but the test results were conclusive. I was given the standard of care at the time, had a negative reaction from the protocol and spent the next 10 years and thousands of dollars trying to recover my original state of wellness.
As the years marched on and I slowly started to regain some health with the expert help of some very talented alternative practitioners, I noticed that even though I was now able to get out and about almost as before, I was avoiding going into nature. So much so, that I wouldn’t walk in the grass even if it was near my house for fear of encountering another tick.
The peace of mind, beauty and connectedness that drew me to nature in my youth had turned into fear and avoidance. When I finally noticed this shift in my general outlook I decided it was time to make my way back to nature, but this time I would stay aware and go prepared.
By that time, inspired by those who had helped me so much, I had become a clinical herbalist and lifelong student of homeopathy. I began to deeply study all the aspects of what we knew so far about the infectious agents related to tick borne illness. I read Dr. Burgdorfer’s seminal text on Lyme Disease. I read about its known vectors and the known species and strains of the bacteria itself, Borrelia burgdorferi as well as the form the disease could take in the body, the genus spirochete. I interviewed a few authorities who were knowledgeable on the subject and after gathering an enormous amount of information, I set in motion some habits of protection that I use successfully to this day.
Tick borne illnesses can be extremely serious and, in some cases fatal for humans as well as dogs. According to Dr. Burgdorfer, there were 7 known strains of Borrelia that carried varying degrees of disease virulence as well as a spirochete named Leptospira, found in some spiders, which mimics many of the same symptoms of Borrelia. Since Dr. Burgdorfer’s death, there have been additional strains of Borrelia catalogued. In addition to those different strains of Borrelia, ticks can all carry various types of co-infectious agents in the contents of their stomachs such as Babesia, Bartonella, Epstein Barr virus, Encephalitis and the list goes on.
After all I had been through and seeing others with similar health issues, simply removing the tick, watching and waiting was never going to be proactive enough for me. Demanding Doxycycline every time my dogs or I were bitten wasn’t a solution for me either, since this could contribute to antibiotic resistance and have significant negative effects on the health of my dogs as well as my own microbiome. In 2000, it occurred to me that I needed an intermediary between the repellant and the standard of care in medicine. Historically, we managed our insect bites not just to reduce itching but to encourage self-care. Somewhere along the way, people lost the ability and interest in managing bites and stings, surrendering to poisonous sprays such as DEET or running to a clinic demanding antibiotics if they were exposed. This just didn’t resonate with me and my need to be able to help myself. So, I designed a kit in order to be proactive in managing tick bites that occurred in spite of bug sprays, the recommended ways of dressing to avoid tick bites.
This was the prototype of the Tick Bite Rescue kit, and I have used an iteration of it ever since with great success. It is my desire that this kit may help to provide a better level of protection for you and your loved ones and to allow you, your families and your pets to be outdoors without fear.
What’s in the Tick Bite Rescue™ Kit?
There are several functional parts of the Tick Bite Rescue™ Kit. Proper removal of the tick is step one and it’s crucial. If you pull the imbedded tick out with your fingers or flat tweezers you could leave behind the head or tiny parts of the tick’s mouth, which you will come to find in a moment, can leave you exposed to infection and the spread of tick- borne illnesses. Some use dish soap, touting that the tick unlatches its jaws and disengages by itself. Unfortunately, unless you own a microscope, you wouldn’t know or see that the tick “vomits” before releasing its bite when you employ the detergent method. When that happens, whatever is in the contents of the tick’s stomach is now in the bite site. I systematically went about testing 5 different types of tick removal tools, trying to find tweezers that could be depended on to safely remove the complete tick, mouth parts and all. The “Tick Tweezers” (included in this kit), hands down, were the best tool for properly removing all parts of the tick from people and pets.
In order to be thorough and manage the bite as effectively as possible, there are four other actions that I feel need to be taken. I, myself, personally care for the bite in the following manner every time I have found a tick imbedded in my skin or my dogs’ skin. First, as stated, I remove the tick. After properly removing the tick, I use the following procedures. Nano-particle silver gel is a natural antiseptic and is applied to the bite after removing the tick. Organic Echinacea purpurea is used for local immune support at the bite site, to help stimulate healthy immune response. Homeopathic Ledum, 30C, is used for systemic immune support and an activated charcoal patch is used as a cautionary absorptive, just in case any part of the tick or its saliva remains at the bite site. It can be very difficult to see these with the naked eye.
Nano-particle silver gel
Silver has been used for centuries to prevent illness and to improve recovery from injury. The use of silver has spanned generations, cultures and continents. The Greeks used vessels made from silver to keep water and other liquids fresh. The Roman Empire stored wine in silver urns to prevent spoilage. Before the invention of germicides and antibiotics, it was known that disease-causing germs could not survive in the presence of silver. Thus, silver was used in dishware, drinking containers and eating utensils.
Settlers in the Australian outback used silverware in their water tanks to retard spoilage.
Pioneers in the American West found that if they placed silver coins in their casks of water, it kept the water safe from growth of bacteria, algae, etc. Silver leaf was used to combat infection in battle wounds sustained by soldiers during World War I.
Before the introduction of antibiotics, silver was commonly used in hospitals and has been known and used as an antibacterial agent for over 1000 years.
In the early 1800s, doctors used silver sutures in surgical wounds with successful results.
SilverSol® was created to improve on current formulas to make them safer and more effective. Through a new manufacturing technology, patented under multiple patents, the SilverSol® technology advanced nano-silver solution has become the new standard by which all other silver products are measured. Not only is SilverSol® Technology more advanced than the original colloidal silvers, but through years of research at leading universities, SilverSol® was then put through rigorous studies and tests for efficacy and safety. The parent company has compiled thousands of pages of test work documenting many key advances. SilverSol® has been proven to be completely safe in human ingestion studies and didn’t produce any side effects or negative reactions. Nano-particle silver gel can be used on insect bites, burns, skin abrasions and other skin eruptions where the integrity of the skin has been compromised.
In April 2007, Juncadella and colleagues determined that Salp15, an enzyme found in the saliva of ticks, inhibited T-cell activation by interfering with the binding of CD4 receptors on T-cells and disrupting their signaling cascade. They confirmed that the Salp15-CD4 interactions caused premature activation and a defective immune response thus rendering the host’s skin based immune system less effective, which allowed the infectious agents safe passage into the host.
The root of Echinacea purpurea is also called Snakeroot and was historically used by Native Americans and later, western herbalists to manage snake, spider and other insect bites. The use of Echinacea was shared by Native American Healers with Eclectic Physicians and herbalists in early America. Echinacea purpurea is an herb that gained greater use to counter winter season imbalances. Multiple studies have researched the herb’s positive effects on humans. Published in the journal of International Immunopharmacology, March 2014 and posted on the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) website, Echinacea purpurea, in an extract of ethanol (grain alcohol) and water, had moderate effect on up-regulating T-cells, the very types of cells that are inhibited by the Tick’s saliva.
Homeopathic Ledum 30C
The underlying premise of homeopathy was used as far back as 3,500 years ago in India. It was called “visa chikitsa”and is discussed in the book “Discourses on Mahabharata” and in the chapter entitled “Medical Practices of the Age” by P.R. Sakar (English edition 1981, Ananda Press, Calcutta India). Hippocrates also used a system so close to Homeopathy and what is now known as the Law of Similars that it is difficult to assign the complete origination of Homeopathy to Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, who is credited for creating Homeopathy and the first modern text on this medical theory entitled The Organon of Rational Medicine. Our current vaccines are based on a very similar premise of using a very small amount of the disease agent, which has been inactivated, to inform our immune system to recognize and mobilize against the foreign invader before we develop a debilitating or life threating illness from that disease.
A homeopathic has to go through a rigorous testing period on humans called a “proving” in order to be accepted as a remedy. Suffice it to say, homeopathy is used successfully and extensively throughout Europe, India, Asia, South America, Australia and Canada.
Because Homeopathy is gentle and strives to “first do no harm”, using a proper remedy will not upset the body unnecessarily and yet offer an appropriate approach to a tick, spider or insect bite. Ledum 30C is used for the bites of spiders and insects and the homeopathic in the Tick Bite Rescue kit is lactose free and the first certified organic homeopathic in the market today. Since we often have no idea how long the tick has been attached and how long our exposure time has been, I wanted my kit to have a gentle but effective systemic immune support ingredient in addition to the Echinacea, for local bite immune support, in case the tick has been attached for longer than a couple of hours.
Activated charcoal patch
Activated charcoal is one of the substances in the so-called Bremen List, a list compiled by the poison control center in northern Germany of five antidotes that emergency rescue service workers should always have at hand. Activated charcoal was given in cases of poisoning in childhood and was registered for such in the USA in 2013. In that year, it was recommended for over 50,000 patients across all age groups. Activated charcoal is used as an “adsorbent” (not to be confused with an “absorbent”). An “adsorbent” binds atoms, ions, or molecules to its surface. The application of activated charcoal plays a major role in both primary and secondary detoxification of the tick bite site. In the event that there is any part of the tick or its saliva that wasn’t removed or neutralized by the other remedies in the kit, the application of the activated charcoal patch is meant to be the final, thorough management of any tick bite.
The patch is made of bamboo and is completely biodegradable. It is conveniently equipped with infused activated charcoal that sits on the skin. If you had to dig out the tick or if you didn’t use the magnifying glass and aren’t sure if everything has been cleared, then using the patch to support normal detoxification is a good strategy. In my earlier kit prototypes, I had used bentonite clay, but this posed a problem since it comes as a powder and needs to be mixed in water before using. It was too messy and added too many parts to the kit. Activated charcoal is used in hospitals and in emergency situations to encourage detoxification and is an extra insurance added to the other parts of the kit.
Additional techniques to manage ticks
My immediate outdoor living area is next to a pond and is basically on a heavily wooded 3-acre piece of property.
I invest in completely natural sprays and strategies to repel ticks from my property without disturbing the pond or nature in its delicate balance. Personally, I hire the services of “oh Deer” (a company located in my area and I believe syndicated in other parts of the country) from April until October to spray a proprietary blend of essential oils that are non-toxic to aquatic and land animals and that break down easily. They have been truly amazing in reducing the tick population on my property. I have found this to be completely effective and safe for my three dogs and me.
I do not go out into nature without my Tick Bite Rescue Kit and some sort of repellant spray. My choices for repellants are natural and organic essential oils. I find these formulas very effective although none, including DEET, are 100% foolproof.
The two essential oils I use the most are lemon eucalyptus and rose geranium, both of which can be suspended in witch hazel or purified water for ease of application in a spray bottle.
There are many more options as preemptive strategies and I will write more about those in future blogs.