Attention to Prevention
Avoid tick-borne illnesses this spring by taking a few premeditated measures.
It took more than 20 years and multiple ambulance rides before Brenda Valentine finally received an accurate diagnosis of the disease threatening her life in 2012. Seemingly random bouts of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, caused her blood pressure to drop precipitously, sometimes rendering her unconscious within two minutes.
The reaction is often a rapid immune response to something a person is allergic to such as peanuts, bee stings, shellfish and some medications. Along with decreased blood pressure, victims often have trouble breathing as airways narrow. Some victims develop rashes or become nauseous.
People susceptible to such reactions often keep an "EpiPen" nearby. The pens inject epinephrine. Anaphylaxis can be quickly fatal.
"In the beginning, I had serious rash, itching, breathing difficulties and intestinal distress," Valentine shared. "This progressed to full- blown anaphylaxis with cardiopulmonary resuscitation, epinephrin injections and scaring the crap out of anyone nearby.
"I was treated for food poisoning or told it was my gall bladder acting up," Valentine said. "Finally, after extensive internal testing I was sent to an allergy specialist who made the diagnosis." Valentine was suffering from a tick-borne disease - and not just one. Feasting ticks had delivered varied doses of suffering over the years. The allergist determined she was afflicted with ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
A 20% DEET Premium Controlled-Release Lotion will work well against mosquitoes, but Dr. Zimring says he prefers the 20% Picaridin lotion since it also protects against ticks, gnats, chiggers, and flies. (In both instances, he recommends Sawyer brand.)
Part of spending time outside means battling ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects. For this, Nelson swears by permethrin.
And out of the products we tested, Dr. Zeichner highly recommends Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent.