I had visitors this week, and I must admit I was a terrible host. I’ll openly confess that I’m a Christian, and I am not supposed to hate, but have you ever had someone that you absolutely abhor show up at your place unannounced and uninvited? These two were hoping that I didn’t catch them sneaking around. From my previous dealings with these guys, I knew that they were out for blood, and they didn’t care who they hurt in their effort to better themselves. You know the type… always trying to get under your skin.
Here’s where the story becomes a little brutal. Though I am not commonly prone to violence, I caught the guy where he wasn’t supposed to be and drowned him. Although, I suspected that he wasn’t alone, his girl had chosen an excellent hiding place, and in spite of the untimely death of her lover, she didn’t attempt to run. Instead, she waited. Under the cover of darkness, she struck…
Before you get too caught up in this true story of intrigue and death, and consider reporting my blog to the police; I must reveal to you that my visitors were the size of sesame seeds. Deer ticks! I hate them. I am not bug-a-fobic. I live right next to the forest, so spiders the size of Rhode Island are not uncommon outside and occasionally in the house. Creeping critters don’t usually bother me. I have a rule about bugs that I consider extremely fair. “Outside bugs live. Inside bugs die.” Short and easy to remember, especially designed for tiny, bug brains. However, there is one bug to whom the rule does not apply. Ticks die on sight. If you’re a tick and have a death wish, the best way to fulfill your desires is to drop onto my sleeve or crawl up my pant leg.
These enterprising, little bloodsuckers are always looking for a free ride and free lunch, and to top that off, 1 in every 100 of them carries Lyme Disease! Moreover, the female that I missed burrowed herself into my side in the middle of the night. Luckily, her choice of feeding places sent burning pains throughout the surrounding area, and finding her was easy. At three o’clock in the morning, armed with tweezers, matches, rubbing alcohol, and first aid supplies, my husband and I pulled the little monster from my side and sent her to a watery grave. (Note: Though the match method has been passed down through generations of my family, this is not a recommended method of tick removal… especially if you have poor vision or shaky hands… ouch! The proper way can be found at:
Drowning is my disposal method of choice for deer ticks. I’ve tried swatting these things, crushing them with books, and pinching them with my fingernails. You can’t crush these tiny monsters! They’re indestructible!
With the tick removed, and the injury covered with antibiotic salve, I though my ordeal was over until I stepped into the doctor’s office on Monday for a routine checkup. I made the mistake of casually mentioning a deer tick had bitten me, and my doctor immediately started talking antibiotics. It appears that it is far easier to prevent Lyme Disease by administering antibiotics with any deer tick bite than it is to treat and cure Lyme Disease. As a precaution, my physician prescribed 100M of Doxycycline Hyclate. I had never even heard of the stuff. Dutifully I headed for the pharmacy waited around for almost an hour while the pharmacist dug through the back room for a box labeled “Plague Prevention.” It appears that Doxycycline Hyclate is also an anti-malaria drug. The stack of informative papers that the pharmacist sent home with me instructed that I was to take this drug twice a day on an empty stomach and not eat for at least an hour after. Do you know what happens if you take Doxycycline Hyclate on an empty stomach? If my unfriendly, little visitors weren’t floating around in the sewer somewhere, I would have killed them a second time.
Here in the Northeast United States, deer ticks are active from March through November. They feed mostly on deer, but when a female or nymph is hungry, any warm blooded mammal will do.
So be careful out there as you’re digging in your flowerbeds and trimming your bushes. Check your clothing and skin thoroughly for ticks when you go inside. If, by chance, you do get bitten, contact your doctor immediately and possibly save yourself from a debilitating disease. Yes, the antibiotics might make you sick, but Lyme Disease will make you sicker.
A few extra facts:
The risk of catching Lyme disease from a tick is greatest during the months of June and July during the nymph stage.
Deer ticks are very small. The adults are around the size of a sesame seed. The nymphs are even smaller.
The family dog or cat may carry deer ticks into your home, check him/her often.
For more about Lyme Disease, check out Webmd at