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Time to take ticks seriously

**This post was originally created on 6.5.2016. The information is still pertinent as tick “season” began early in 2017.**

In an online SLATE “Advice for Parents” article, Melinda Wenner Moyer writes, “If you don’t remember being scared of tick-borne diseases when you were a kid, or even a decade ago, that’s because you weren’t. The reported prevalence of tick-borne diseases has basically doubled in the U.S. since 2003 and tripled since 1995.”

If you spend time outdoors, you may encounter these “awful arachnids” searching for a new home (i.e. food source (blood) host) on clothing, pets, or your body. Here are some links for you to begin your homework on why taking ticks seriously is important.

Action steps:
http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/avoid/on_people.html
http://www.livescience.com/46160-how-to-avoid-tick-bites.html

Don’t have tweezers handy? Consider carrying a TickKey. 
Land Trust Land Steward Brandon Perry swears by ’em.
“I have a total of three TickKeys in rotation plus one in my bathroom. Ticks don’t ask you so you have to be prepared. TickKey lets me remove the little monsters on the trail or in the office. Quick and easy to use.”  (Unpaid advertisement  😉
http://www.tickkey.com/index.html

In the “Come on! Are you kidding?” category:
http://www.caryinstitute.org/discover-ecology/podcasts/why-you-should-brake-opossums

WAY TOO MUCH INFO:
http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/10/30/heres-what-happens-when-a-tick-bites-you/

How to Avoid Me Tips – from the tick perspective
http://www.rd.com/health/conditions/13-things-ticks-wont-tell-you/

 

If you aren’t too grossed out by finding one, report your encounter to “Tick Guy” Dr. Tom Mather. This site has photos to help you identify the little blood sucker.
http://www.tickencounter.org/tickspotters

More tick ID graphics:
https://www.lymedisease.org/lyme-basics/ticks/about-ticks/

More from Dr. Mather…. June 18 – June 20, 2014, Ask “The TickGuy” Anything on Runner’s World web site: http://community.runnersworld.com/topic/ask-me-anything-tom-mather-the-tick-guy

 

Safety Recap:

  • Stay on the trail and keep your pet with you and on lead. No bushwhacking, please.
  • Use repellent and wear body armor (lightweight clothing to help keep them away from your skin as long as possible)
  • Mandatory tick checks/removal and bathing asap
  • If bitten and you develop symptoms, consult your doctor.

Runner Claire Purinton (who graciously gave her permission to use her name) wrote of her long, difficult battle with Lyme Disease diagnosis and ongoing recovery on a WeRunHuntsville.com Facebook post. Claire also recommends reading author Amy Tan’s story of dealing with Lyme Disease. 
 -C. Mayne

-graphic courtesy of Emmie Mayne, Lightning and Lace