One of the most controversial topics of Lyme prevention is "bug sprays."
I devised a simple test: take a tick and put it on your arm and surround it in a circle with your chosen bug spray in a kind of gladiator scenario. See what happens after a few minutes. In whatever I have tried, the tick will cross over the bug spray barrier unaffected.
I have extensively tried this test with natural tick repellents, everything that I have read about and everything that has been recommended by friends, with no successful results. For example, I made fresh yarrow tincture after several friends told me that Susun Weed swears by it for ticks; in my applications it did not succeed. I added it to different essential oil blends and repeated the test but it was short acting. I always add, and recommend pressed oils/a fat base to keep the essential oils grounded on the skin longer.
Even that said, and based on many trials and experiments, I have unfortunately concluded that no herbal or essential oil based spray lasts for more than 2-3 minutes including my own, no matter what combination. This is not to discourage anyone, but to encourage further direct experimentation before exclaiming a product as "tick spray."
But as I mentioned before, perhaps concluding that the spray is "effective" if you reapply every 2 minutes to have lasting effect is feasible to say. But, to me that is not sustainable. Awareness is the only thing that seems guaranteed to work.
As far as a Lyme rash, despite the fact that only about 40% of cases get a bulls eye, and I remind that a welt or presentation on the skin is your body having an immune reaction, causing mild inflammation, and trying to hold the infection at bay. It's not necessarily the infection itself. This goes for all welts.
As far as after a bite, mixing an antibacterial essential oil into coconut or olive oil etc also helps the essential oil stay on the skin longer, as well as the oil is also antibacterial. Be liberal and frequent, at least for 7-12 days on that location. The sooner the better too.
I don't prefer oregano oil because it burns, lavender works well. Almost any essential oil of good quality is antibacterial because that is the chemical makeup of the part of the plant that is antibacterial. An essential oil is a distillation of a plant which captures the "sulphur" principle of the plant. This is seen as akin to the blood of the plant. That captured and distilled essence is like the fluid of the immune system in the plant.
Regarding being in the woods, I've concluded that what works best for me, in my own practice in the woods that walking barefoot and keeping your ankles bare, knowing tick habitat, and doing frequent checks on yourself and your children are your best bet for Lyme prevention. To know the habitat of Ticks and to understand when you're getting "leg exposure" to ticks, and looking as soon as you get out of that area, is the best bug spray I've found.
I will never use deet or permethryn and I'm in the woods all day every day, largely in New Jersey, the heart of the epicenter. Frequently checking myself for Ticks constantly. Don't rely on a bug spray to make you feel safe, if it makes you forget about checking, please do yourself a favor and stay aware and diligent.
If you are interested to learn more and get the preventative lowdown, feel free to join our webinar Working with Lyme and Ticks - A Holistic Perspective (Live Online)
Also, check out my extensive list of lyme related links at: http://returntonature.us/resources/lyme-links/
This information is for educational purposes and is not intended as medical advice or to diagnose or treat any health condition; nor shall it be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, treatment or care