By Stephanie Sharp

Most Floridians are well-acquainted with the risk of mosquito-transmitted diseases and are diligent in preventing mosquito bites. But with Lyme disease on the rise in Florida, it's important to take tick-bite prevention as seriously as we take mosquito-bite prevention or other outdoor precautions.

Lyme disease has not typically been associated with Florida, but the rate of Lyme disease in the state has tripled from five years ago. Florida is among other states, such as California, seeing a marked increase in the zootonic disease.

The good news is that there are many ways to naturally repel and combat ticks, using many natural wellness tools you might be familiar with.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness, transmitted by the nymphal (or immature) deer tick. Nymphal deer ticks are about the size of a poppy seed and their bites are not painful, so it's important to prevent a tick bite before they happen or to be swift in your identification and treatment of tick bites.

Lyme Disease Awareness Month is an opportunity for those living with Lyme disease and their loved ones to educate the public and physicians, raise funds for research and advocate for proclamations from local and state governments.

With the Center for Disease Control reporting at least 300,000 diagnoses of Lyme disease each year, the need for public education about the disease is mounting. For comparison, Lyme diagnoses account for more than 1.5 times the rate of diagnoses of breast cancer and six times the rate of diagnoses of HIV/AIDs.

This tick-borne illness affects all ages, but children, senior adults and those with occupations that require significant time spent outdoors (such as firefighters or park rangers) are at especially high-risk for contracting Lyme through tick bites.

Symptoms can range from the early onset of flu-like symptoms and a distinctive "bull's eye" skin rash, to chronic Lyme disease symptoms that affect neurological function, joint pain, debilitating fatigue, memory loss and cardiovascular malfunction. In a 2014 study, researchers found that chronic Lyme patients reported significantly lower health-related quality of life indicators than research participants with other chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure and fibromyalgia.

How does the disease work?

Lyme is often considered dangerous because it is difficult to diagnose. A nymphal tick can transmit a corkscrew-shaped bacterium, known as spirochete, through a bite. This bacteria, borrelia burgdorferi, is often called the "Great Imitator," because the disease it causes presents symptoms that are strikingly similar to many other conditions.

Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed by physicians as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis and clinical depression. When untreated or under-treated, chronic Lyme disease affects any organ and presents numerous risks to major body systems. As a zootonic (or animal-to-human transmitted) illness, Lyme disease is also often contracted with numerous co-infections that bring other health risks. The five most common co-infections are babesia, bartonella, ehrlichia, mycoplasm and Rocky Mounted Spotted Fever.

Treatment for Lyme disease is a source of controversy and debate in the medical field. One school of thought champions a short course of antibiotics to treat Lyme, recommended by the Infectious Disease Society of America. Another approach is preferred by the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, which focuses on an individualized treatment that's designed in collaboration between healthcare provider and patient, based on the severity of the individual's symptoms and any co-infections present.

Tick Awareness

According to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the nymphal deer ticks (also known as black-legged ticks) that are associated with the transmission of Lyme disease and most prevalent from April to August.

There are many ways you can help control ticks in your home or yard, including practicing responsible tick prevention with your pets (especially dogs) and even landscaping to discourage tick mitigation into your outdoor living spaces.

But if you are like many of us, you have many outdoor adventures planned for your summer. We've rounded up some easy ways to help prevent tick bites and keep yourself and your family safe with natural alternatives to chemical repellents.

Tick Tips

When hiking or exploring wooded or grassy areas, stay on marked trails and boardwalks. Not only is it good for the environment, but it's also an easy way to lessen your contact with tick habitats.

Use essential oils or all-natural bug repellants that are specifically for ticks. Be sure to follow all instructions and apply appropriate safety measures with children and infants.

Treat your clothing and outdoor gear with a properly-diluted essential oil spray. Using a small amount of rubbing alcohol can help disperse the oils into water.

Keep these essential oils handy during "tick season": Rosemary, lemongrass, peppermint, red thyme, cedarwood.

When you get home from your outdoor adventures: Remove outdoor clothing and gear and immediately put in the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes or wash immediately in hot (not warm or cold) water.

Check yourself, pets, children and gear for ticks before entering your home. Bathe in hot water, preferably within two hours of being outdoors. A peppermint or eucalyptus soap would be particularly effective in removing any nymphal ticks before they have a chance to transmit disease.

Do a full tick-check in the mirror to ensure you're tick-free. Remember-- nymphal ticks can be as small as a poppy seed, so it's important to be thorough.

Under the arms

In and around the hair

In and around the ears

Back of the knees

Between the legs

Around the waist

This May, there are two meaningful holidays worth celebrating! Remind mom you care this Mother’s Day while also supporting World Fair Trade Day. She deserves the best, and Ever’man is proud to carry an abundance of ethical, eco-friendly fair trade certified products that she’ll love.

What is Fair Trade?

When you purchase gifts with the Fair Trade Certified label, you can be confident that the product was sourced from a company or farm that treats its workers fairly. By choosing Fair Trade, you are empowering workers around the world, ensuring that they are being paid wages that allow them to adequately provide for their families in humane work environments. You are also defending our environment by supporting small-scale, organic and sustainable farming practices.

We’ve compiled a Mother’s Day Gift Guide you can feel good about!

Bubbly Mom

Step into the Ever’man body care aisle to browse a variety of ethically-produced soaps, lotion, lip balm and more.

We suggest picking up sunscreen by Badger Balm, a Fair Trade certified family business that creates products using organic plant extracts, exotic oils, beeswax and minerals. We also love soap, hair and body care products by Dr. Bronner’s, a tried and true soapmaking company committed to practices that are socially and environmentally responsible.

Sweet Mommy

Satisfy mom’s sweet tooth with our wide selection of Fair Trade chocolates!

Pick up some smooth and indulgent chocolate truffles from Alter Eco, a company that supports farmers in Peru, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia. We also carry chocolate bars from Divine Chocolate, a cooperative of cocoa farmers in Ghana; Endangered Species Chocolate, a company that donates profits to wildlife conservation groups; and Lily’s Sweets, a Fair Trade Certified company that produces gluten-free, Stevia-sweetened chocolate bars.

Caffeinated Mom

Does your mom run on caffeine? Then she’ll love a bag of Equal Exchange coffee beans.

Equal Exchange coffee is better than gourmet - it’s ethical! One of the largest democratic worker cooperatives in the US, Equal Exchange produces rich, bold and delicious coffee and fosters vibrant, sustainable communities across the world.

Wine-y Mom

Give mom a reason to indulge with a bottle of organic wine!

Ever’man is proud to boast a selection of high-quality wine by La Riojana, an Argentina based cooperative winery. Partnering with over 500 small-scale farmers, La Riojana guarantees a fair price for grapes for growers and producers.

Mom who Spills Tea

Help mom wind down with a cup of hot tea that benefits her health and the global community.

Check out Ever’man’s assortment of herbal teas from Organic India, an all-natural line of teas sourced from a collective of over 3,000 farms.

Another favorite is Traditional Medicinals, a Fair Trade certified company that creates tea powered by medicinal grade herbs.

This year, show mom you’re thinking about her by giving a gift produced with dignity.

by Hannah Cobb, Ever'man Wellness Team Member and Certified Natural Health Professional

The importance of taking care of your digestive system cannot be stressed enough. Our digestive system plays a significant role in detoxifying our body as well as housing a considerable part of our immune system! Would you believe me if I told you that 80% of our immune system is in our gut? That’s why it’s so important to make sure it stays healthy. If your digestive system isn’t working correctly, then you will notice. Bloating, indigestion, gas, constipation, you name it! Unfortunately, with the way America eats with our SAD diet (standard American diet), it’s no wonder that we have trouble. Did you know that stress can even affect digestion? I bet you will notice that things can be “off” during travel or when you are going through a stressful time.

No matter what digestive issue you are having, there are things you can do to improve your gut health significantly.

Here are some key things to do if you want good gut health:

1. Eat Foods High in Fiber

Your large intestine relies on having adequate amounts of fiber every day. Fiber is the substance that “sweeps” out the colon keeping it clean (think of it as an internal cleanser). After your small intestine has absorbed all of the nutrients from your food, the fiber is sent to the large intestine where all of the water is taken out, and stool is formed. If we don’t have that “bulk” to our stool, then our bowels won’t move, and we will have constipation as a result. Besides eating fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you can also supplement with fibers like psyllium husk.

2. Take a Probiotic

Probiotics are good bacteria that are naturally found in a healthy intestinal tract. When we eat a SAD diet or take an antibiotic, then the beneficial bacteria are killed. When we have an unbalance of good bacteria to bad bacteria, we can run into issues like yeast or bacterial infections, parasites, and an inflamed colon. There’s a whole lot that can go wrong when we don’t have that essential bacteria. You can also get probiotics from fermented foods like kimchi, yogurt, and sauerkraut.

3. Make Sure You’re Drinking Enough Water

We hear that a lot, I know, but it’s especially helpful for the bowels! One of the main things the large intestine does is it removes excess water from our foods so it can form a healthy stool. If you aren’t hydrated, then that can create hard stools, making it difficult to have a bowel movement.

4. Don’t Eat Fast

Eating fast can cause problems with bloating, gas, and reflux. When we eat quickly, we swallow air, and then that air can cause gas and belching. Eating fast can also hinder us from chewing our foods thoroughly. The first step in digestion begins in the mouth with the production of saliva. Saliva contains enzymes that help break down our foods. If we aren’t chewing well, that saliva doesn’t mix with our food and makes it harder for the stomach to break the food into smaller pieces.

5. Get Movement

Movement is so important. One main reason why we see constipation often in the elderly is that there is less movement taking place and not much exercise. Stretching and even taking walks will help to move the food through our intestines, avoiding constipation.

6. Don’t Eat When You’re Stressed

If we eat while we’re stressed, there won’t be much digestion going on. When we are stressed, our body produces hormones that tell our body that there’s a crisis and that we need to get as much blood, oxygen, and energy as possible to the brain and muscles. Digestion takes a back seat and gets shut off. When we’re in rest mode, digestion turns on.

Because everyone is so different and will need specific treatments to heal, there is not a one size fits all with this, but I hope these tips will be helpful for you along your healing journey!



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315 W. Garden St.

Pensacola Fl. 32502

Tel. 850.438.0402

1000 E. 9 Mile Rd. 

Pensacola Fl. 32514

Tel. 850.316.3700


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