I love to go for walks in the woods. It’s good for the body and mind. But I always make sure to check for deer ticks when I get back, since Lyme disease has become a major health problem. Especially where I am right now, in my summertime neck of the woods–New England.
Deer ticks infected with a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi transmit Lyme disease. If an infected tick bites you and transmits the bacteria into your bloodstream, you will typically develop the tell-tale “bullseye” rash around the site of the bite.
After the rash appears, the bacteria can spread throughout the body, causing a number of disabling, chronic conditions. It’s notoriously difficult to treat if the infection isn’t caught early.
The disease is named after Lyme, Connecticut, where the disease was first described in the mid-20th century. The northeast, mid-Atlantic, and north-central states in the U.S. typically have higher rates of infection. And health officials have noted a dramatic increase in cases over the past 20 years.
In fact, between 1993 and 1997, 69 counties in the U.S. already had high rates of Lyme disease. But between 2008 and 2012, the number of high-infection counties nearly quadrupled, to 260. Essentially, the infection is expanding in all possible directions from the early, high-risk areas. Rather like the bullseye ring itself.
The experts at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) don’t know exactly what’s causing the relentless spread of this infection. And they certainly don’t know what to do about it.
They claim “changes in climatic conditions” seem to favor tick survival. In other words, blame it all on “global warming.”
Ah yes. Global warming. It’s the preapproved, politically correct, “global” explanation for everything under the sun, including more senseless government regulations just announced by the President.
But there are two big problems with that explanation when it comes to Lyme disease.
First, only the colder, northeastern and north-central states are seeing an increase in cases. So if the typically colder states favor tick survival because they’re now supposedly warmer because of global warming…wouldn’t warmer states have an even bigger tick problem?
Well, that’s simply not the case.
The warmer, southern states never had much of a problem to begin with. And in recent years, they’ve seen the Lyme disease problem almost completely disappear. In fact, only four counties in the southeastern U.S. had high infection rates 20 years ago. Today, the south has actually dropped off the list of high-infection risk counties.
The second problem with the global warming argument?
It ignores the role of deer in spreading the disease.
Deer carry and spread the infected ticks. So Lyme disease is as much a deer problem as it is a tick problem.
And many nanny states in the northeast and mid-central ban or restrict hunting weapons and do everything they can to discourage hunting. These same states are experiencing the biggest deer overpopulations and deer tick problem.
It’s no coincidence.
As the deer population grows, so does the Lyme disease problem.
These states should allow more hunting licenses to help sensibly cull deer overpopulation and help bring Nature back into balance.
But the CDC experts won’t tell you about these simple facts. (This same group of government political science bureaucrats now labels firearms as the nation’s new, No. 1 health problem. But they never mention that virtually every perpetrator of mass gun violence has been taking violence-inducing antidepressant drugs, as I often report.)
Legions of government bureaucrats and politicians can’t ever seem to put the whole picture together, but let’s try
As you know, humans need healthy sources of meat in their diet. This meat ideally should not come from animals artificially fattened up by abnormal diets, synthetic hormones, and antibiotics. The best meat comes from healthy, free-range animals.
In big cities and their suburbs, some people can afford the higher prices of organic, grass-fed beef and chicken. But in more rural areas, the rural “underserved” (a population you will never hear about from the administration in Washington) can go hunting to get affordable, healthy venison meat. But they can’t hunt this true “free range” meat if you take away their firearms and hunting licenses. You might as well put them on a vegetarian diet.
The government’s politically correct, but medically ineffectual explanations and approaches to this infection literally “tick me off.” You see, bacteria and ticks have the advantage on us because they deal with reality without having to be politically correct.
Fortunately, you can take matters into your own hands.
When you go out in the woods or high grasses, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, high boots, and socks. And get your sun exposure in locations that don’t harbor ticks–such as flat areas adjacent to bodies of water. Beaches and sand banks are perfect for sunbathing, of course.
(I’ll tell you more about the benefits of spending time in Nature in an upcoming Daily Dispatch.)
Also–practice the “buddy system” when you spend time in the woods. Have a buddy inspect your body for ticks, including hard-to-see areas like under your arms and other hard-to-get places. At the nymph stage, the ticks can be small–the size of a freckle. So look carefully.
If you find a tick on your skin, don’t pull it off because the head will break off and stick in your skin. Instead, smear some Vaseline to smother the tick, or place a hot match-tip on the tick, to make it back out. The tick will back out more readily than the government will from its lame explanations.
“Geographic Distribution and Expansion of Human Lyme Disease, United States,” Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) 7/15/2015