I know too many people with chronic Lyme Disease (also known by the CDC as Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome). They are beyond miserable, their insurance doesn’t cover their multi-year treatment, and finding docs who treat is about impossible and involves much travel. I am appalled that the CDC says it takes only months to get better and that most patients do. I know western medicine health care providers with Lyme, and they will tell you that the “months” projection is not based in reality. One friend told me that if I had to go through what she is going through that I would treat Colson, Ryan and me with DEET every time we are in the woods. She looked so imploring and weary that she finally woke me up to the fact that my fear of DEET was overruling my common sense.
We are in the woods a lot. This summer I picked six gallons of wild blackberries, with a little help from Colson and Ryan. Between the three of us, we only brushed off two ticks. We were unprotected and deep in the brambles, so we were lucky.
Last weekend we bushwhacked pretty far. Fears of Lyme Disease fresh in my mind (but not worried about snakes for some reason), I swallowed hard and we all sprayed up with DEET. To be fair regarding my ignorant concerns about DEET, Ryan swam in DEET when he was in the Army and deployed to Haiti in the 90s. He wore it so much that it dissolved the binocular pieces that touched his eyes. Just melted them. And you should have seen his sunglasses. Scary stuff (but not scarier than the six tarantulas that climbed on his back when the camp flooded in the middle of the night).
Without researching anything, Ryan sprayed us from the knees down (eventually we sprayed all over when we hit the woods). Check out the below picture of our lawn 24 hours after he sprayed Colson and me. Even so, the Environmental Working Group does not demonize DEET, and I am now a fearless convert.
P.S. Even though my lawn looks nice and green where the DEET did not spray, it is a bunch of weeds and crabgrass that is not chemically treated. The environmentalist in me required that disclaimer.