Summer is in full swing and you should be taking advantage of all nature has to offer. But be mindful of ticks when going outdoors because they can give you Lyme Disease. Recently, their threat is greater due to their increased numbers in certain parts of the United States. Here are some natural ways to help keep ticks away from you.

The weather’s warm and the sun’s bright rays shine for longer periods throughout the day – not many can resist stepping outside for a nice summer’s walk, jog, or hike. Don’t resist those urges because they’re good for your health. You’ll replenish your vitamin D stores and walking around in nature near trees has been found to lower blood pressure. Walking and running have also been found to add years to your life! But ticks love the summer outdoors too and they become more active and prevalent during these warm and hot days.

Recently, tick activity in the northeastern regions of the U.S. has increased because white-footed mice have suddenly surged in population. The ticks there have multiplied generously because these hosts have become more plentiful and available. The danger is that these mice often carry the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease. When ticks ingest mice’s blood carrying the bacteria, they can pass it along to the next host they feed on – like humans.

What Is Lyme Disease and Why Is It Dangerous?

Lyme disease can cause fever, rashes, and even worse symptoms if left untreated. Spotting Lyme disease early hinges on identifying the hallmark rash (erythema migrans) localized around the tick bite. But the rash doesn’t present in up to 50 percent of people infected with Lyme disease, which can let the disease go undiagnosed.

If the bacteria are allowed to spread from the site of infection, Lyme disease can wreak havoc across the body, causing erythema migrans in many areas. If the bacteria reach the heart and nerves, Lyme disease can entail irregular heartbeat and facial paralysis. Other advanced symptoms include arthritis, memory loss, shooting pains, shortness of breath, and even inflammation of the spinal cord and brain.

Although these symptoms sound scary, the good news is dying form Lyme disease is rare because even in its later stages, the bacteria succumb to antibiotics like penicillin and amoxicillin. But a small percentage of patients can have symptoms that last for months or years even after a successful course of treatment. This is known as Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome or chronic Lyme disease.

However, patients with preexisting conditions, like heart problems, are more at risk from dying from untreated Lyme disease due to the strain it puts on the organs.

3 Natural Tick-repelling Remedies and Their Health Benefits

You can’t get Lyme disease from food or being bitten by animals, but recent research says that it may be possible for the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria to be passed sexually. But Lyme disease’s main mode of transmission to people remains notoriously with ticks. Fortunately, there are natural, harmless ways to prevent ticks from latching onto you when you’re out enjoying the summer season (some of these are even healthy for you!):

1. Apply a Vinegar Solution to Your Skin

The American College of Healthcare Sciences states that vinegar has bug-repelling properties. Mix a teaspoon of vinegar with a cup of water and apply the solution to exposed areas that are most vulnerable to contact with ticks – like your arms and legs. This natural solution’s tick-repelling properties aren’t as strong or long-lasting as toxin-containing commercial bug repellents, so you’ll have to reapply the solution each hour you’re outside.

Applying the vinegar solution to your skin also helps cleanse and heal it, and your whole body. The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine says that vinegar coaxes toxins through your skin’s pores and helps clear blemishes, warts, and sunburns. It also helps relieve acne and psoriasis.

If you’re worried ticks might end up in your hair and apply the solution there, the vinegar also clears your hair and its follicles and roots of any chemical buildup from cosmetic products. It also strengthens your hair follicles.

The only drawback is that you may smell a little sour, but you can easily cover that up with the scent of soothing essential oils, which also have tick-repelling properties.

2. Apply Natural Essential Oils to Your Skin

The American College of Healthcare Sciences also states that lavender, basil, thyme, and peppermint essential oils have bug-repelling properties. They also smell wonderful. In fact, their scents smell so wonderful they can heal! Doctors discovered that cancer patients and other study participants who breathed in essential oils felt calmer or energized.

Their immune systems were also boosted. It’s because when you inhale essential oils, their healing compounds enter your bloodstream through your lungs and act on your central nervous system and other parts of your body.

But what do essential oils do when you apply them to your skin for tick protection? Studies found that they can sterilize your skin of bacteria and fungi. They may also help treat any herpes sores because they’ve been found to have antiviral activity against the herpes simplex virus.

Mixing essential oils with your vinegar solution makes for a more powerful tick repellent with even more health benefits for your body. It will also mask vinegar’s sour smell and give your body a soothing fragrance.

3. Apply Tea Tree Oil to Your Skin

Tea tree oil is another natural and healthy remedy you can apply to your skin to keep ticks away. It has bug repellent properties, but also helps alleviate acne and can kill MRSA bacteria when applied to your skin. If applied to your hair, tea tree oil has been found to alleviate dandruff. Its healing topical properties make it a popular choice among cosmetic manufacturers as an active or complementary ingredient in shampoos, soaps, lotions, and other personal care products.

You can buy tea tree oil in its pure form or a pre-made tea tree oil solution specific for skin care use.

Enjoy the summer weather and all the health benefits being outdoors has to offer. But be aware that ticks are more prevalent in the northeastern states because of the surge in white-footed mice. They’re also more common in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. Since ticks can carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, apply these natural remedies to keep them away and to keep yourself safe. As a bonus, these remedies also heal your skin and your body!