Ticks be gone: Battling Lyme disease in style
There is the old adage that necessity is the mother of all invention, and in Debbie Cook’s case it absolutely rings true.
Cook has spent the better part of a year working on developing an effective product to combat tick bites and the possibility of Lyme disease that comes with them.
Her interest was piqued when a neighbor said to her in passing, “practically everyone I know who has been walking in the woods has Lyme disease.” That scary thought prompted her to begin searching for a tick-repelling product on the internet.
“There was nothing out there,” save a chemical, Permethrin, a widely used crop pesticide available now in spray form for tick repellant. The spray, available at outdoor sport stores, could be directly applied to clothing.
“It’s the most effective tick repellant on the market. They say it’s safe, but I wouldn’t want it right next to my skin,” says Cook, “when it dries it becomes inert, but it is toxic to bees, other beneficial insects and fish.”
In the meantime, Cook stopped walking in the 4,000 acre forest (Whitney/Thayer Woods and Wompatuck State Park) behind her King Street home, once a favorite activity, for fear of being bitten by a tick. She felt she had to be extra careful when gardening in the yard or going to see properties as a Conservation Commission member. With all that in mind, she asked herself “what could I do?”