"I was hiking with my son in Mammoth Cave National Park when my life changed forever”, said McCulloch. “Like a lot of people bitten by ticks that carry Lyme disease, I was ignorant. I suffered for months with severe migrating joint pain, disturbing memory loss and “brain fog” and then crushing fatigue. I had no idea what I was suffering from and neither did several doctors. Five months after my tick bites I finally saw a Tick-Borne Disease specialist and was accurately diagnosed with disseminated Lyme disease and Bartonella, a common tick-borne co-infection.” With his health much improved after almost a year of intense treatment, Logan is on a mission to encourage people in every state to take precautions to avoid tick bites. And if they are bitten, to take the proper steps including seeing a Tick-Borne Disease (TBD) specialist for an accurate clinical diagnosis and appropriate treatment. In 2013 Logan spent five months backpacking the Appalachian Trail raising awareness for Lyme disease and teaching about TBD safety. “I wore my Insect Shield protective clothing every day and never found even a single crawling tick on my body. While I was on the trail, the CDC raised their annual estimate of new cases of Lyme disease ten-fold, to more than 300,000 new infections each year. It is by far the fastest growing epidemic in North America. Four years ago my Louisville, KY based Lyme disease support group had about 30 members. Since that time we’ve had well over 200 people attend our meetings.” In 2015 Logan continued his awareness and education mission as he backpacked and bike packed more than 4,100 miles coast to coast from Delaware to California.
Logan’s top tips for protection:
- Wearing permethrin-treated clothing is the single most important prevention. It is endorsed by world health agencies, Centers for Disease Control, and the military.
- Do daily (or more frequent) tick checks.
- Do a visual check on clothing during rest breaks.
- Avoid sitting on the ground or on logs.
- Take rest breaks at shelters or on benches.
- Treat your pack and groundsheet or outer floor of your shelter with spray-on permethrin.
- Hike in the center of the trail or walk in the center of the path.
- Avoid tall grassy areas where you might brush up against branches.
Tick check 101: Where ticks love to hide
Take extra time to check the following areas:
- The sides of your body
- Groin area
- Belt and waistband areas and underneath watch straps
- Back of your knees and elbow areas
- Under armpits
- Back of neck and hairline areas
Added Tips & Tricks when you Come Back Indoors
- Put your clothing into the dryer on high heat for 10-15 minutes (when coming indoors). Heat kills ticks.
- Shower after being outdoors to wash off ticks that have not attached.
- Check your pets!
Tick Prevention Strategies: