• Barbara Johnson, MD

Spring is sunshine, outdoor activities and ticks.



A tick bite has the potential to ruin the fun-filled, careless days of summertime. Increasing your tick IQ can protect your much needed outdoor time this summer. Outlined below are some tips that can help you enjoy outdoor activities while employing some protection from ticks.

Tick Habitat: Know your Enemy

Ticks are active when the temperature is 28 degrees Fahrenheit and higher. So, in most southern states, ticks are active year-round.

Ticks gravitate toward moist and shady areas which is why they are mainly found in tall grass, gardens, farmland and forests.

It is important to know which ticks are located in your state as different ticks transmit different diseases. The ticks listed below are found in both Virginia and North Carolina:

  1. Blacklegged Tick (Deer Tick)

  2. Lone Star Tick

  3. American Dog Tick

  4. Brown Dog Tick

  5. Asian Longhorned Tick

  6. Gulf Coast Tick

Ticks do not jump, fly or fall from trees. They crawl from vegetation onto a passing human or animal. The exception is the Lone Star Tick. There is some speculation that this tick does not wait passively but gravitates toward CO2 which is expelled from humans and animals. Unlike other ticks, they go hunting for food.

Property Protection

Most ticks are found in moist and shaded areas and there are a few landscaping tips that you can do to reduce ticks. Deer ticks are not usually out in the middle of your lawn, they live where yards border wooded areas, within ornamental plantings and gardens, or anywhere it is shaded and there are leaves with high humidity


  • Keep grass cut short.

  • Clean up leaves and wood pilings.

  • Pay special attention to frequented border areas, stonewalls, and sheds.

  • Trim shrubs and low branches. In particular, the foliage of Japanese barberry is the perfect humid environment for ticks. Consider removing these shrubs.

  • Place bird feeders on the far corners of your yard as birds do drop ticks on the surrounding foliage and grass.

Extremely Safe and Effective Yard Sprays


Yard Spray. Use this product to treat grassy areas. It is safe enough to spray around children or pets and you do not have to wait for it to dry to enjoy your lawn. It is biodegradable and will kill ticks within 20 minutes or less. This product also kills mosquitoes and ants.

Personal protection


If going on a hike or working around the garden or farm, wear light colored clothing, tuck pants into socks and shirts into pants.


Avoid walking through tall grass and leaf litter.


Immediately after coming inside, place clothes that are dryer safe in the dryer on high for 15 minutes to kill ticks. Deer ticks are easily killed with heat. If you place your damp clothes in a clothes hamper, the deer ticks can live for several days.


Check your pets and pet bedding regularly.


Shower soon after coming inside. Once attached, ticks do not wash off in the shower.


Conduct a full-body tick check. Ticks are attracted to warm and moist areas so be sure to check under your arms, behind knees, between legs, inside your belly button, under your bra, genitals, around your waist, in your ears, on your head and between your toes.


Use safe tick repellents on your body and clothes


When using sprays, make sure to treat the skin of your arms and legs directly to prevent ticks from crawling inside your clothes.

BioUD contains CDC approved ingredients that are all-natural and actually found to be more effective than DEET in repelling ticks, mosquitoes and other insects. The active compound is from the tomato plant. Deemed safe for pregnancy. Can be generously sprayed on both skin and clothes.

Cedarcide. Essential oils such as cedarwood is an excellent natural tick repellent that works against ticks and is backed by studies. Their products can be sprayed generously on your skin, clothing and head to repel ticks. It is safe on dogs over 15 pounds but not on cats.

Keep a spray bottle of the tick protection products listed above by the back door, inside your car, backpack and/or bathroom. This will prompt you to practice preventative measures when needed most.


Careful with Permethrin. Permethrin is not a product that I recommend spraying around your home, garden or on your skin. However, individuals with permethrin treated socks and shoes were found 73.6 times less likely to have a tick bite than those wearing untreated footwear. Although permethrin is toxic to the environment, The Environmental Working group stated that treated clothes are not a threat to health.

My concern with permethrin treated clothes is that permethrin is being found in the sweat of those wearing the clothes. It is absorbed into your skin with sweat. For this reason, I don’t recommend wearing the permethrin treated clothes but do recommend treating your shoes. This is especially important for those who work outside such as landscapers or farmers or for those who camp or hike. You can send your shoes or socks to a company called Insect Shield. They will treat your product with the permethrin and send them back to you.

Pet Protection

We love our pets! Unfortunately, pet owners are more likely to get a tick bite and be infected with a tick-borne pathogen. Please check your pets and pet beds, and apply protection to them as well.


Ticks Off prevents ticks from latching onto an animal. To apply, rub into your pets fur once a week. The product works on dogs and horses, but not on cats. Cats lick their fur and the essential oils may be toxic when consumed.


Toto = tick on tick off. This is a safe soap product for both people and animals. It is great for washing down at the end of the day. If you see a tick on your pet or yourself, spray the tick with this product and it will kill the tick within seconds. Then you can remove the tick safely.

Herbal Prophylaxis

For those who have outdoor jobs that increase the risk of a tick bite or for those who spend a large amount of time hiking and camping, it is worthwhile to take an herbal antimicrobial that protects against ticks as a preventive measure.


Many people never remember getting a tick bite and less than 50% actually get a ‘bull’s eye' rash. Also, lyme symptoms may not present immediately. But Lyme borrelia can spread from the bite through the body in as little as 24 hours. Therefore, early treatment is critically important. Preventing circulation of the bacteria throughout the body may be avoided by having an herbal prophylaxis in place. I only recommend taking an herbal antibiotic prophylactically for 3 months or less. The preventative dose is ½ the therapeutic dose.

It is best to know what ticks are in your area and what pathogens they carry to customize your herbal prevention. We can help customize an herbal prophylaxis that will work for you.

What to do if you find an attached tick.

Be gentle in removing the tick and avoid agitation as this may cause the tick to regurgitate pathogens into the wound. The best method for removing the tick is with a Tick Twister by O’Tom. This device gently removes the tick without causing stress.

Save the tick and place into a plastic Ziplock bag to be sent to the lab for analysis. I recommend a company called TickReport. This lab identifies the tick, documents whether the tick had started feeding and then tests for a variety of pathogens. Prices are reasonable and reports are available within 72 hours.

After removing the tick, apply either Neosporin or a drop of the Tick Bite tincture onto the site of the bite. If the tick is carrying pathogens quickly applying the tincture may possibly kill the bacteria in the bite site.

What to do while waiting for the tick report.


Since early treatment is critical for preventing progression to chronic disease, start an herbal antimicrobial formula that addresses Borrelia, Anaplasma and Babesia. These are the most common infections documented with the deer tick, so it is paramount to provide protection against all three.

If the test comes back showing that the tick was not infected, then stop the herbals.

If you did not send the tick into the lab continue the herbals and begin taking a biofilm buster. Lyme and co-infections create a protective matrix within the body called a biofilm. A biofilm defends pathogens against the immune system, antibiotics, high temperatures and biocides. The biofilm busters strip the gelatinous matrix exposing the pathogens to the immune system. It is important to take both the herbal antimicrobials and the biofilm busters for 1 month.


If you do develop any symptoms, then immediately see a physician for testing and proper treatment. Remember, the ‘bull’s eye’ rash may never develop, and symptoms can be diverse.


Common symptoms of Borrelia, Anaplasma and Babesia are:


  • Fever (all three)

  • Muscle aches and pains (all three)

  • Joint pain and swelling (all three)

  • Flu-like symptoms (all three)

  • Headache (all three)

  • Numbness and tingling (borrelia)

  • Fatigue (all three)

  • Abdominal pain (Anaplasma)

  • Night sweats (Babesia)

  • Air hunger (Babesia)

  • Heart palpitations (Babesia)

  • Cough (Anaplasma and Babesia)

Also please be aware that symptoms may not appear for as long as 30 days which is why it is important to continue the herbal antimicrobials and biofilm busters. I also recommend checking your nutrient status to make sure that your immune system can function optimally. Avoid refined carbohydrates and sugars, start a spore probiotic and minimize your toxic exposures so detoxification pathways are not compromised.

Our Tick Kit


For your convenience we’ve put together an all-inclusive Tick Kit that you can have with you at all times. It is best to have everything you need on hand when you discover an attached tick.


Tick Kit includes:


  • Tick Twister to safely remove the tick from skin.

  • Small ziplock bag (for collecting the tick)

  • Tick Bite prophylactic formula for both topical and oral use. (Protects against Borrelia, Babesia and Anaplasma)

  • Cedarcide spray for skin and clothes.


We are taking pre-orders for the Tick Kit now. Please email Kelsey at jcenterhealth@gmail.com to be added to our pre-order list.


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