Whether we like it or not, ticks, those repulsive little creatures that we all dislike so, are to stay! With this said, with the presence of Lime disease which is incredibly dangerous, we are forced to take all precautions possible.
There seem to be an endless number of sprays, salves potions and lotions that profess to keep ticks from climbing on us or at least not staying long when they do. In this column, I am going to focus more on a few simple do’s and dont’s that we should be practicing when we are in areas prone to hold ticks. I am not suggesting for a second that we should not use repellants; we absolutely should, but we should also be blousing our pants securely inside our boots, using duct tape to wrap our pants legs is a great idea, although a bit more work than blousing. We should be doing something similar with our shirt cuffs, as hands are a very handy place for ticks to jump aboard. As we are traveling through the area, we should be constantly observing our extremities to look for ticks. Dog ticks have larger bodies and are easier to spot, but deer ticks, who are the real culprits with the Lime disease issue are very small and consequently more difficult to notice.
It should be our practice to give ourselves or each other a close visual examination EVERY time that we come out of the woods or fields. Stopping midway through our day while still afield is a great idea as well. We should also be very careful to observe and inspect our dogs as we go along. Removal of ticks is a critical issue, and not always easily done. I had a tick on my abdomen once and because I wear glasses (age has nothing to do with this!), the tick positioned in an area where I simply could not see him clearly. Fortunately, Lila was able to come to my rescue! Various opinions exist about tick removal, including touching the tick with a hot match. A paramedic friend of ours tells me that this isn’t a good idea as it may cause the tick to regurgitate the blood he has taken from you and this by itself may be infectious. There are several tools that make removal easier and safer, but short of anything else, medical attention is always advised.
Next month…Wading Technique and Wading Staffs