June 28, 2020
Chances are you’ve heard about tick bites, but since the Government of Canada surveillance program doesn’t list Alberta as one of the affected areas, perhaps you’ve put the danger of ticks out of your mind. However, if you travel, camp or spend a lot of time outdoors, it may be time to start educating yourself about ticks, since their bites can cause Lyme disease, a debilitating and difficult to diagnose chronic medical condition with no easy remedy.
“Ticks are a serious problem and they’re only getting worse,” says Lisa Ali Learning, the CEO of Atlantick Repellant Products. “While they’re found mostly in Ontario, Manitoba, BC, and eastern Canada, because ticks attach themselves to birds, they can be found in areas across Canada.”
Learning knows firsthand how dangerous ticks can be. Though she had no idea at the time, both her sons were bitten by ticks, triggering a months-long medical nightmare.
“My sons started to experience strange medical problems. They started getting swollen knees and ankles so I started taking them to the doctor because it was painful for them. One day my son told me his hip joints were hurting him, and by lunchtime he couldn’t walk.”
It took time, but eventually both of her boys were diagnosed with Lyme disease. While both have recovered, that wakeup call spurred Learning into action.
“I knew they’d be going outside again and I’d need to protect them. When I started looking around at tick repellants, all I could find were ones with chemicals like DEET. I wanted to see if there was something more natural, and I couldn’t really find anything.”
Learning began to read voraciously about what types of natural oils might effectively repel ticks.
“I don't have a science background, but I did my research and I came up with three different formulas. Then I took those formulas and I paired up with a Acadia University and Dr. Nicoletta Faraone and we started testing a natural tick repellant.”
That’s how Atlantick was born. The Atlantick Lemongrass Outdoor Spray formula is the most effective of the three original formulas Lisa created (up to 85% repellent), and it is registered as a refreshing, skin-nourishing cosmetic product with Health Canada. The ingredients in the outdoor spray are designed to be natural and soothing for the skin. Jojoba oil is a natural moisturizer, witch hazel bringsstrong antioxidant and astringent properties, perfect for killing bacteria that lives within skin’s pores. Lemongrass oil has anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, and the spray is rounded out with Atlantic Sea Salt Water is packed with healthy minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium and zinc, which are all easily absorbed by the skin.
Atlantick is currently in the process of registering a newly developed, highly effective (over 97%) tick repellent formula with federal pesticide authorities, expecting it to launch to the public in 2021 after that process is completed.
The risk of getting a tick bite starts when the weather warms up in the spring, and continues until the fall. Ticks can also be active in the winter, if the winter is mild and there is not much snow. Blacklegged ticks are most often found in forests, wooded areas, shrubs, tall grass and leaf piles. If you work or play outdoors or you travel to or camp in affected or adjacent areas, you may be at a greater risk for tick bites. Golfers, hunters, campers, fishers and hikers should be particularly wary.
“Dealing with Lyme disease was really scary and it was a huge eye opener for our family. When you see how damaging Lyme can be, it really puts things in perspective and you don't want to take any chances. Prevention is key,” warns Learning.
Find Atlantick outdoor spray at your local Calgary Co-op store in the Natural Choice section.
Please Note: Health information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional health advice. This general information is not intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Any information, advice, or suggestions given by Calgary Co-op staff is not a replacement for medical advice from your Doctor, Dentist, or professional Practitioner. Consult with your healthcare professional with any questions you may have.
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