Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Truth About Deer Ticks

I consider myself an avid outdoorsman. I practice good conservation of the wildlife and the wilderness, and feel that I take the necessary precautions to be safe in the woods and on the water.

However, when I recently found the first Deer Tick I've ever had stuck in my body, I quickly realized just how little of the truth that I knew about Deer Ticks and Lyme Disease.

I am a magnet for blood-sucking insects, and although I have had my share of the larger relatives of the Deer Tick, I've never had to pull out (or have someone else pull out) one of the one's that force you to be concerned with Lyme Disease.

After a recent camping trip to the Pine Barrens, I came home to discover a Deer Tick embedded in my skin. My lack of knowledge shined immediately. I won't share what my actions were, but I will tell you to discard any gunk that you've heard about matches, vaseline or anything else to that effect.

THE ONLY WAY TO SAFELY REMOVE A TICK IS BY PULLING IT OUT BY IT'S HEAD, as close to your skin as possible, preferably with pair of tweezers.

Another thing to note, is that a tick must be embedded in your skin for at least 12 hours to start transmitting the disease. So when "they" say to check thoroughly for ticks as soon as you come out of the woods, it's for a reason.

Also, ticks don't "fall out of trees," so extra caution should be taken around brushpiles, wood piles and when walking through tall grass. Bug spray containing DEET never hurts.

So the long and short of it is that I'm keeping my eye on a tick bite that has been slightly irritated for 2 weeks for no other reason than the fact that I did a pretty damn good job of irritating it.

It would be a great delight if someone read this and was spared from making the same mistake.

Note to the reader: Both the removal and aftermath would have been quite unbearable were it not for the steady hand and calming reassurance of Lindsay.

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