family wellness | Uncategorized

Tick Kit: An Important Piece for Family Wellness

By on July 6, 2021

Well. It has been a long time since I’ve written in this space. We’ve gone “off the grid” a bit and are currently living in a small rural town in Maine. This is our temporary housing situation until we close on our “real” Maine home in August. It has been an adjustment living in a small cabin, not all bad– just an adjustment.

The biggest adjustment has been dealing with the bugs in Maine. I thought the mosquitoes in Florida were awful…. Maine, well… the ticks, the brown-tail caterpillars… Now, they are no joke. We’ve been here for about 3 weeks, and both of our younger kids have been diagnosed with tick-borne illnesses. We’ve done tick checks, we try to keep them out of the tall grass, we spray (with chemical-free) bug sprays.

So, the point of me writing this is to tell you. I want you to create a tick kit. I want you to take ticks seriously.

I don’t care if you are not outdoorsy, if you don’t live in an endemic area, or if you take ALL of the precautions. Deer ticks are miniscule. A freckle. Tinier than a freckle. And time is critical in identifying the tick and taking precautions.

It is an adaptation to have to be so friggin’ hyper aware. However, it is necessary! If you, or anyone you know has battled Lyme disease– the effects can last a lifetime.

Every second that a tick is feeding on you or your child, it is potentially passing on Lyme, Babesia, Bartonella or other co-infections. Ticks often carry more than one infection. Again, time is crucial in removing and identifying the tick. Each moment you spend searching for tweezers or a plastic baggie, the tick is spreading more of its ick. Seriously.

The Kit

A tick kit is simple. Having one on hand can help you beat the clock and remove and identify the tick ASAP. The contents are easy-peasy. It is just crucial to have them accessible and ready to go in a few moments. If you are like me, you will spend 30 minutes locating these items if they are not packed and ready to go.

  • A few index cards
  • A ziplock baggie
  • Tweezers with a sharp point
  • Sharpie
  • Clear tape
  • Alcohol wipes

Just throw the contents in the baggie and put it in your travel pack or car if you are out and about or in your medicine cabinet at home.

How to Remove a Tick

  1. Use pointed tip tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible.
  2. Pull upward, without twisting or jerking so that you remove the tick completely. If your hand is not steady you may jerk the tick, leaving its mouthparts embedded in the skin. If this would happen, make sure to remove the mouthparts as well.
  3. After removing, tape the tick to the index card and write the details of time, date and location it was found. This is good information to have if symptoms appear. The doctors will have the full picture for treatment.
  4. Next, clean the bite with the alcohol wipe and watch and wait. Symptoms can occur 3-30 days post bite. Watch for fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, headaches or a bullseye rash.

Avoid using folk remedies to remove the tick. It has been found that applying nail polish, petroleum jelly, or any other number of remedies actually causes the tick to regurgitate its contents deeper into the skin.

Sending the Tick off for Testing

To get your tick tested, simply visit and follow instructions to receive your tick order number.  Then place your tick in a ziplock bag, label it with your order number, and mail the labeled tick to the Laboratory of Medical Zoology, 270 Stockbridge Rd., University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003.  Results will be sent to you in 3-5 business days.  

This does not replace receiving medical advice/treatment, but it can give you an idea of what you are dealing with.

Take Tick Bites Seriously

An ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure, I’ve been told. Ticks are definitely something that can easily be missed. Some ways to make the burden of ticks less cumbersome– having your tick kit on hand is a priority. Also, wearing light-colored clothing and bundling up. Long pants, tucked into socks, long sleeves and hats can help protect. Tick checks. Checking every crevice, multiple times per day if you are in an endemic area and making sure to remove, save and identify.

If you find a deer tick embedded in skin, I definitely recommend saving the tick and seeking medical attention BEFORE you experience symptoms. There are prophylactic treatments available. I am not one to rush for medicine and love to do things naturally, however this is one instance that I stand behind doxycycline and feel its risks are minimal comparatively.

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parenting | Uncategorized

Teenage Trials and Transitions

By on November 4, 2019

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Raising a teenager is no joke. The past few weeks I have been up to my elbows trying to parenting a sane teen. I have finally realized the public school system is just too much for my empathic, emotional teen boy. Keenan has always been a little “different”, and I mean that in the best of ways. From his early childhood, I felt an alternative education– Montessori, Waldorf, or homeschool would be the way to go for him. We did Montessori for a brief time, however, circumstances had us join the public school system in West Virginia, and it was actually quite wonderful for him.

He met great friends, he had great teachers that really resonated with him, and he generally thrived with the routine and structure. We moved to Florida the last half of his fifth-grade year, and things have not been the same. Yes, I know he was going through his tween years, middle school and all of the difficult transitions that we all generally face. He adapted okay– until this year. The first year of high school.

The social pressures are too much for him. He’s hearing and seeing things that he can not process. Sex, drugs, gun threats, to name a few. Initially, my husband and I thought these were “normal” teenage behaviors and talk and he would get used to it. He has not. He says he’s shaky all of the time, he’s angry and has outbursts when he’s home because he can’t seem to release the pressure, along with a few other challenges that are concerning.

We’ve been working to help him adjust by giving tools to release his anxiety and it isn’t giving him long-term relief. Today, I applied for virtual school so now we are waiting to see what happens next. This was an extreme remedy from our end. My guess is he will be accepted and we will have to find a new family rhythm with him schooling at home. This piece worries me, however I know we will adjust (if this scenario is best) and find ways to meet all of his needs– academically, socially, and emotionally.

So, this is our latest update and one reason this blog has taken the back burner. I am going to share some of the tools we’ve been using to calm his anxiety and unwind his day.

The Emotion Code by Bradley Nelson

The Reconnect Kit which is an essential oil kit that helps him feel grounded and focused.

Probiotics. Some probiotics have wonderful mental health strains of bacteria that helps calm his nervous system (this is major for me too!)

Keenan does well when he is consistent with his Tae Kwon Do, we’ve increased his class load with them and when he practices his form daily his mind is more calm and balanced.

Raising teenagers is a whole different ballgame and I remember how difficult it was for me. I am hoping to instill in him some values and tools that can give him a heads up with these trials so that he can lessen his anxiety and allow him to focus on his future and the man he chooses to become.

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