West Nile season is upon us!

Not only are mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile multiplying, but ticks are on the march, too. Lyme Disease! Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever! Yikes. If you pay attention to all those scary stories in the news, wonderful summer pastimes like picnics and camping can look just too risky.

The standard list of preventive actions is woefully inadequate, and usually recommendations rely on the application of toxic repellants.  Here are some suggestions to help reduce the number of bites you might suffer from, and also reduce your risk from anything the bugs might be carrying:

• Reduce Sugar

As always, reduce sugar intake. While summer weather and outings make us crave the comforts of ice creams, sweet drinks, and delicious ripe fruits, bugs are drawn to sweet blood. The extra sugars change the scent of our perspiration and that attracts them, too.

Even worse, when we eat more sugar and sweets, our immune responses are limited. If you do get a bite that transmits bacteria or virus, you won’t fight it off as well. Remember, everybody didn’t die in any of the historic epidemics – just those who were vulnerable.

• Limit chemical exposure

Be cautious about your exposure to chemicals, because they can and will compromise your immune system. If you have children in the house, please be especially attentive to what’s lurking in your home environment.

Luscious fruits, such as strawberries, are full of chemicals – so be sure to buy only organic. Many sunscreens and bug sprays are very toxic. Chemical lawn and garden and household pest products are in heavy use during this season. These, too, will burden your immune responses and detox capabilities.

Choose non-toxic products and solutions instead. The Environmental Working Group provides annually updated information on these alternatives in their product databases.

• The sun is your friend, not your enemy

Expose your body to the midday sun, without sunscreen, for twenty minutes daily. Don’t worry – this short exposure will not wreck your health.  The blood in your capillaries will be cleansed by the UV light, and your immune system will be stimulated.

Even better, lay on a sheet or towel on the lawn, beach, or soil while sunning to receive the benefits of the earth’s electromagnetic field. Being in touch (literally)  with the earth is very relaxing, too.

Take your sunglasses off when not necessary. Full spectrum light entering the pupils of your eyes is a very important immune support, and it helps regulate your hormonal systems. You receive this benefit even while you sit in the shade.

• Be mindful of your Vitamin A and K intake

Our immune system depends on balanced Vitamins A – D – K. However, your blood levels of Vitamin D can increase during the summer if you are getting sun without sunscreen during midday – as I am recommending – so pay special attention to your Vitamin A and K levels to balance out this increase.

You may want to reduce your intake of Vitamin D supplementation, or cod liver oil. Remember to include liver in your diet (there are many choices!) which can provide Vitamin A. Maintain intake of fermented foods to provide healthy gut flora and Vitamin K.

• Carry homeopathic remedies in first aid kits

Consider using homeopathics specific for West Nile Virus or tick bites. I always carry them, just in case. You can also visit my office to use the homeopathic imprinter for custom immune protection and stimulation.

• Be tested for specific support

Don’t be miserable: if the bugs just love you, ask me to reflex test you. I’ll look for nutrients that you need specifically for this season to either repel those bugs or at least protect you better.

Each of us is so unique that I can’t really construct a definitive list of protective supplements. In general, bioflavonoids like Cyruta Plus and immune support like ViraCon will boost your immune system if you feel vulnerable. Refer to my Holistic Medicine Chest for options you may have on hand.