Scared to ever be outdoors again

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New Member

Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/18/2010 4:36 PM (GMT -7)   
I was recently diagnosed with a tick borne illness (not lymes disease but something similiar w many symptoms of lymes)... it was a very scary experience not knowing what it was for such a long time. Now it's being treated and I'm better... but I'm afraid to death to really do what I want to do. I like to do cardio almost every day, and have been a slave to a treadmill for a long time. I want to start jogging outdoors, however I'm afraid if I expose myself (I wear shorts when I exercise due to the heat) I could risk a tick bite. I know there are certain precautionaries... checking for tick bites afterwards, using certain repellants... but I can't seem to shake the fear... I know to stay away from jogging in 'nature' (on mountains, hills, grassy areas etc) but even in neighborhoods, I live in an area that's not completely urban (there are a lot of mountains, there are dear here) I'm afraid a tick could just latch on from the brush even if I stay on a sidewalk (esp in these months coming up), it could fall off and I wouldn't even know if I've been bitten. I just don't know what to do... Any advice would be appreciated immensely.

I used to love nature... now I'm afraid of it.
I want to enjoy exercising in nature and not waste away in a gym. I guess it's only an hour or so a day but still. You think of all the hours of your life that accumulates to, and how you could have been enjoying that time more so in the sun, outside, not moving in one place.

Caldonia Sun
Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 310
   Posted 4/18/2010 6:15 PM (GMT -7)   
I understand you, TickTragedy, and feel the same. We spent much of our free time hiking in the mountains and even though there are strong repellents, I am a bit afraid. I live in an area where the deer come around. I don't want to be a prisoner, though.

Here's what we're doing: We have treated our property with permethrin tubes and will fence it next month to keep deer out. We will keep our grass cut and minimize shrubbery.

Deet based sprays are very effective. So is permethrin. I have started spraying my walking shoes,pants and socks with permethrin. If you don't want to do it yourself, Land's End sells permethrin-treated clothing. And of course, check yourself as soon as you come inside.

I have my dog on a tick repellent now, too. Before lyme, I used natural products, but ticks still got on her.

I probably will not go out into the woods now; I don't know if I would even enjoy it because I'd be so paranoid that one would get on me again.

Sometimes I feel like we are living in a horror movie where "they" are waiting for us right outside our doors.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 570
   Posted 4/18/2010 6:57 PM (GMT -7)   
What kind of a tick borne disease do you have and what are you being treated with? Did you see a Lyme Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD) for your diagnosis?

Regarding your fear of going outside for fear of getting bit again. That's understandable for sure! Here's something that you might be interested in getting for protection. Check it out here:

There's tons of natural products available. Just do google search and you'll find many products that you can purchase for tick and bug protection. It's hard to beat deet (not natural), that's why the Jernigan product might be your best bet.


Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 376
   Posted 4/18/2010 9:29 PM (GMT -7)   
Yeah, I used to hike, hunt and horepack all over the place.  I think I had Lyme for so long before we figured it out that, between Lyme and the chronic Cpn infection, I don't think I'll ever recover fully.  I'd be really happy to get back to 50% and get most of the cognitive stuff back.  It may not happen.
But ...  deer are getting a bad rap here.  The real problem is the white footed mouse.  That's where the bacteria orginate.  Deer - like people - can just be a link in the chain after ticks feed on the mice.  There are some very interesting studies on biodiversity and Lyme.  As many areas are cleared for new houses or whatever, it drives the larger animals out.  So ... what's left that can live in the cover that's left?  Mice.  And probably more of them.  Some studies suggest that driving out larger animals - like deer - results in more ticks feeding on more mice.  So ... more potential to get Lyme.  So deer in the area really shouldn't bother you cause they are not the problem to begin with.  It's actually a sign of healthy biodiversity.
It's just a choice.  I'm reluctant to walk thru brush anymore, but I do go for walks on the "green" trails here.  I take the camera and stay on the trail.  I've taken pictures of deer on some walks.  I'm so restricted on what I can do that I guess it's a risk I'm willing to take.  I used to jog those trails.  I won't let the potential of tick bites rob of a walk thru the trees. 
Here's a link you might find interesting:
Lyme, anxitey, depression, chronic C. Pnuemoniae
"... expect the unexpected ..."  (O. Wilde)
"I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened." (Mark Twain)

Caldonia Sun
Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 310
   Posted 4/19/2010 4:56 AM (GMT -7)   
The permethrin tubes are to target the white footed mouse. You fill the tubes with cotton balls soaked with permethrin and the mice take the cotton balls back to their nest, killing the ticks in the process. After a month, our cotton balls are still intact, so hubby believes we don't have a mouse problem. But we are keeping an eye on them. We are trying to deal with the mice, deer and even birds, which can also carry ticks. I am no longer putting out bird feeders - they will have to fend for themselves. I'm doing all I can to feel more secure.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 230
   Posted 4/19/2010 6:42 AM (GMT -7)   
I have also become a bit paranoid about me or someone else in my family coming in contact with another tic. The problem is that our back yard is on the edge of a large state forest area with beautiful ponds, waterfalls, streams and hiking trails. My wife and I enjoy walking our border collie off leash for miles along the streamside path. The downside is that we come in contact with tics on a regular basis. We also have a cat and even though we treat both pets with flea and tick repellent they still ocassionally carry tics into the house. It has become part of our daily routine to check ourselves for tics at bed time and also while showering each morning.

We would probably have to get rid of both pets and move to a less wooded area to totally avoid exposure. My wife and I have had recent conversations about down sizing the house and rellocating to a safer area. This could become a reality if I don't recover soon; It is becoming increasingly more difficult for me to do my job with this illness.

We all need to be vigilant when it comes to avoiding TBI and possible re-infection.
Peace and Healing
Lyme Disease - Doxycyline, IV-Rocephin, Gabapentin, Vitamins B,C & D

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 4399
   Posted 4/19/2010 7:39 AM (GMT -7)   
Keeping one's immune system strong is the best way to prevent Lyme/coinfections, or at least give your body an edge in kicking them out quickly instead of giving them a chance to gain a foothold and become chronic.

How to keep a strong immune system:

Eat a well-balanced, wholesome diet that minimizes processed foods loaded with artificial ingredients and maximizes highly nutricious foods (whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, native diet/wild meats, etc.; organic is best). Sugar suppresses the immune system for 8+ hours after consumption and should be limited or avoided as much as feasable.

Dehydration (lack of water intake; soda pop, juice, coffee, etc. do not count towards one's daily fluid intake because the body treats these things as food instead of as fluid, and in the case of coffee & caffeine containing soda, as well as alcoholic beverages, can actually increase one's fluid loss) gives one's body a distinct disadvantage for optimum function and thus dehydration should be avoided.

Garlic, Astragalus, antioxidants (Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin E) and other supplements and herbs can be taken on a regular basis to ensure an appropriate immune response to tick-borne infections.

I strongly suspect that one of the contributing factors to the increase in Lyme/coinfection cases in the world is the decline in nutritional and immune status of the global population. Years of farming the same soil with only replacement of a few nutrients and the application of many chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc., have depleted the soils. A crop grown in depleted soils cannot have the same nutritional composition as a crop grown in nutrient-rich soils. This is one reason also that I am a proponent of taking nutritional supplements to achieve optimum health.

Years of exposure to radioactive waste in the air (metals from ships manufactured prior to WWII pulled up from the ocean where they were sunk shows much lower radiation than metals in products manufactured after WWII, meaning that the radiation is in the atmosphere and cannot be avoided) has also likely helped to weaken the immune system of most of the population on Earth. Since the thyroid gland plays a role in the health of the immune system as well as with metabolism (i.e., utilization of nutrients, fats, carbohydrates, proteins, etc.), it is important to be aware of this radiation exposure so that one can be sure to get enough (but not too much) iodine and selenium to help keep the thyroid gland healthy.

Exercise is also an important part of overall health. We already know about the importance of exercise in fighting Lyme/coinfections, so that's all I'll say about it here.

Stress management is also very important. Notice I didn't say stress avoidance, because I know it is impossible to avoid. The Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal axis also plays a role in a healthy immune system. Stress can throw this HPA axis out of balance, and long-term or chronic stress can lead to severe suppression of the adrenal glands, which negatively affects the body's ability to adequately respond to infection. It is known that stress can suppress a person's immune system. Stress is also known to contribute to heart disease and is a known factor in causing a worstening or flaring of autoimmune and probably a long list of other conditions as well. But healthy management of stress helps keep the stress from affecting physical and mental wellness.

A major part of the immune system is actually in the gastrointestinal tract. If the gut is leaky, inflammed, constipated, etc., the immune system in the gut cannot function like it should and thus can allow things into the bloodstream that otherwise shouldn't be there. Constipation causes re-absorption of toxins expelled into the gut from the liver/gallbladder and should be avoided when possible. Exercise can help encourage proper motility in the gut to prevent constipation. Probiotics, prebiotics (inulin and some other types of fiber, fructo-oligosaccarides, etc.), and various other nutrients can contribute to a healthy gut immune system by addressing leaky gut, imbalances in the "friendlies" that are supposed to be in there to help us with digestion, and reducing inflammation.

Keeping detox pathways open is also important for optimum immune system function. The gut is only one of these pathways...the others are the skin, lungs, and kidneys. Deep breathing exercises or aerobic exercise helps get fresh air into the lungs more rapidly than if one is sedentary...speeding up the air exchange helps expell gasseous forms of toxins (including carbon dioxide) more quickly and improves cellular and tissue oxygen levels. Optimum oxygen levels in tissues help to prevent infections - most infectious organisms (including Lyme) don't like a high-oxygen environment. Avoiding dehydration helps to keep the gut and the kidneys functioning well.

Raising the body temperature through exercise promotes perspiration (another good reason to avoid dehydration...), which is a good way to expell toxins. Bathing also helps draw toxins out through the skin and rinses the toxins away so they aren't re-absorbed.

Healthy social interaction is also helpful for stress management and also for improving one's immune system. Studies show people who are active in some kind of regular social activity get fewer colds/flu than those who are more isolated socially. These forums are one great way to get some good support and social interaction that helps with stress management. I know it helps me to be able to come here and participate in the sharing of support, knowledge, and understanding with all of you ~ thanks!

I know I've probably missed some stuff, so feel free to add to this list :) Take care,

Chronic Lyme Disease, Chronic Bartonella (clinical dx only), Gluten & Sulfite Sensitivity, Many Food/Inhalant/Medication/Chemical Allergies & Intolerances, Asthma, Gut issues (dysmotility, non-specific inflammation), UCTD ("Secondary Lupus-Like Syndrome"), Osteoporosis, chronic Lymphopenia, etc.; G-Tube; Currently weaning off TPN.
Meds:  Pulmicort, IV Doxycycline, Heparin (to flush PICC line), Claritin, Singulair, Domperidone, Colloidal Silver (topically & nasally), probiotics, Liver support herbs, Ailanthus, digestive enzymes, homeopathy.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 2154
   Posted 4/19/2010 7:05 PM (GMT -7)   
I am in the same boat. I absolutely LOVE gardening and lyme has taken the joy out of it for me. I have huge gardens that I used to spend hours in and just can't seen to get past the idea of getting bit again. However, I refuse to let lyme strip me of everything so I am researching spraying for ticks.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 3266
   Posted 4/20/2010 6:33 AM (GMT -7)   
I've spent so much time outdoors, and I've pulled so many ticks off me; in almost fifty years alive it has only been two ticks that have infected me. Seems like the odds are against getting infected again. Yes, this lyme disease has been hell and I don't want to get it again, but I know what the symptoms are, I know how to keep ticks off me, and I am not going to let this bacteria imprison me and take away one of my greatest pleasures in life, the outdoors.

We can't eradicate the tick, I don't want to upset anyone, but they can turn up in all sorts of places. What we can do is wear boots, spray our clothes with permethrin (deet apparently doesn't work?). change your clothes when you come in and take a shower as soon as practical. Check your body for ticks and bites and be aware of the symptoms. And we got some guinea hens -- the neighbors are thrilled -- no really, they are.

Frankly, it's riskier behavior to get in your car, to eat a Big Mac, to eat sugary foods, or to go to a tanning salon.

This battle with Lyme disease has taught me that I don't have a minute to lose in terms of doing the things I love. So I'm off out to the garden and then into the pastures to play with my goats.

Be bold don't let that Borrelia burgdorferi destroy your life!

Turquoise Sky
Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 250
   Posted 4/20/2010 3:43 PM (GMT -7)   
Totally understand. Every step outside is an act of faith. I think I picked up my infected tick in the front flower bed about 10 feet from my front door. Definitely agree with the permethrin, seems to be the most effective, for my dog and clothing, and keep trying different products for human skin. Using only natural repellent doesn't seem to be enough. Don't give up what you love to do!

Nicky D
Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 361
   Posted 4/20/2010 5:08 PM (GMT -7)   
My sister and I were just talking about this. Every thing I do in my spare time (prior to lyme) seemed to involve the outdoors- I hiked, backpacked, mountain biked etc. I haven't been able to do much of that at all in the past two years because of my symptoms from Lyme, but I might be well enough again this summer. So now I have the same problem- do I cover every inch of skin with clothing and premetherin every time I go outside? Do I just not go outside at all?

One part of me thinks my family is incredibly lucky that only my grandfather and I have Lyme disease, because we are all outdoors so much. The other part says that if I am the only one with Lyme, maybe I can afford to venture outside as long as I am careful.

Anyway- it's come down to the fact that, for me, being outside is worth the risk. Not being able to do the things I love (because of Lyme) has made me aware of how much they enrich my life. My plan is to be cautious- wear a hat, check for ticks every time I go outside. If I find a tick, or if my symptoms start to re-occur, I will get treatment immediately (because I know what it is) and hope that works. If I get re-infected, I will probably have to re-evaluate. Actually, I think if I get re-infected I will move to a country without Lyme disease. I seriously considered moving to New Zealand, but decided I don't want to leave my family behind unless I have to. So if I get Lyme disease again from going outside, I'm going to move, but until then I'm going to keep living my life and hope that I can catch any ticks before they get me.

The whole reason I pushed so hard to get a diagnosis for myself was I couldn't stand to imagine living the rest of my life unable to hike, or bike, or do the things I love. If I get better, I'm not going to let my fear of Lyme disease get in the way of that, because if I do, I might as well just have left myself with Lyme disease. (if that makes any sense)
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