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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

To Be Perfectly Frank, Ticks Suck.

Lone Star Tick
Well it is that time of year again where a common phrase that geocachers use comes into play. Just after either searching for a Geocache or maybe even a whole day of Geocaching the words "tick check" are spoken.

This is not only common to our game, sport and obsession but if you just plain go outside and enter any type of wooded area ticks can be an issue. What are ticks you say? Ticks are nasty little eight legged parasites that do nothing but want to suck the blood out of living critters including us and use that blood to nourish their young. They are small, fast, armor plated and can carry disease. One of them being Lyme disease.

So how small are ticks? Depending on the tick they can be the size of your keyboard question mark down to the size of the period. Each one has certain characteristics to identify them. In my area for example there are the brown deer ticks, the lone star with it's white dot on it's back or the itty bitty seed ticks. All have a pincher and serrated mouth that loves to drill into anything it feels will give a good meal. What is surprising about a tick bite in general is how powerful it is. As you pull the head from your skin it literally latches on stretching your skin till it releases with a sickening snap sound. There are whole procedures that you should read up about to correctly remove a tick and you can read some of them here: http://www.tickinfo.com/

Ticks are armored plated?  Yep, big time. You will not kill a tick by just slapping them. They will just laugh at you and continue on till they find food. If you find a tick walking on you just swipe it off or pick it up with your fingers. Then dispose of the little bugger. I have smacked ticks with a shoe and watch it keep walking on. They are that durable.

Words of advice: if you are in an area that is prone to have ticks do the following. When you enter the house consider all clothes to be the equal as if you walked into nuclear waste. Immediately take all of them and immediately wash. Remember ticks love to climb up your legs and move up to your mid section. They also love to fall onto your head, collar or get in through your button shirt and then work down. They are ambush bugs that actually wait near areas that have higher traffic walking by.

An actual tick check is when you have a loved one give you a good once over looking for ticks. Ticks seem to always find areas you can't easily see or reach and I mean ALL areas. Better to have someone you know check than get a bite.

I you do get bit, mark the date on the calendar it may be important if symptoms do start to appear and you can tell your doctor. If you start having flu like symptoms anytime near a tick bite go to the doctor immediately and have yourself checked out.

There are ways to slow down ticks but they are a hearty bug. Always take the time to make sure you do not have ticks on you after venturing outside.

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