Ticked Off With Ticks … Part 1

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May 26, 2009

Hello everyone. First off, I want to wish every Mother a belated “Happy Mother’s Day” (and also wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day). My mother is one of the main reasons I like camping so much. As a single mom, she managed to take two wild and woolly boys (and other family members) on many wonderful camping trips as I was growing up!

I hope you all are ready for the “start of the camping season” with memorial day here. For a lot of us, this holiday seems to signal the unofficial kick off of our summer activities. We are already planning camping trips and canoe trips and fishing days and the list goes on. In fact, I have to be honest, as I write this, we are en route to a vacation trip to the Gulf coast of Alabama. In fact, it will be our first time in Alabama… woo hoo another state.

But to get to the actual meat of the article, today I want to talk about ticks, you know the little creepy, crawly things that get on you and (say it with a Dracula type accent) “Want to suck your blood.” To be honest, I really don’t like ticks, but I have to kind of admire them. They can crawl all over your body and attach themselves to you, and you never feel a thing. That is stealth! There in lies the problem. When Ticks attach themselves to you, they often mix some of the fluids they carry with your blood. This leads them to be carriers of several diseases; the two most feared are Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease.

To even further complicate matters, there are more than one kind of Tick. The most common and the carrier of the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is the Wood Tick. The Wood Tick is about the size of a pencil eraser and very thin, and brown in color. The carrier of the Lyme disease is usually the Deer Tick. The Deer Tick is very small about the size of the lead in a pencil and darker in color.
Both types of Ticks tend to climb small shrubs and grasses and wait till something warm and furry brushes against them and latch on. That means pretty much any mammal will make them happy, and you, my friends, are Mammals! Once on the animal, they tend to look for a place to attach themselves that is covered and moist. This means most of them will hide in hairy areas, either on the head or the groin /genital area. And, as we said, once they attach they can infect you.

So how can you protect yourself? That is the question we will answer in Part 2.

Your Obedient Servant,
Gary C. Smith, Jr

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  3. Ellen F

    At least one case of ehrlichiosis has been reported in every state, excluding Alaska and Hawaii. It is transmitted by either the Brown Dog Tick or the Lone Star Tick. What makes this disease so bad is that it has three stages, and through the first two, the patient may never even know they are sick. In the chronic (or third) stage, it is typically fatal in dogs.

  4. Paul hawes

    I too have been through ehrlichiosis from a tick bite. My wife said that I almost died, but I don’t remember much of it. She hauled me to three doctors before one prescribed an antibiotic. The diagnosis of ehrlichiosis came several days later from a lab test. I now have an exaggerated, albeit rational, fear of ticks. To me, it warrants starting a course of antibiotics as soon as an attached tick is found. The diagnosis might come too late.

  5. Donna Geurin

    My husband contracted erlichiosis from a tick bit in March and nearly died. We were in the ER five times in a week with 103 deg temp before being admitted with his pressure 50/30 and in septic shock with sepsis. It is deadly and I urge everyone to be careful. A good thing to do if you get a tick is to put it on a piece of scotch tape on the calendar on the day and if within 7-9 days one is running a fever, go to the Doctor immediately. We did not know my husband had a tick and it was terrible and our son is a doctor. It took six weeks to get back to normal.



  7. John

    Dip a cotton swab in dish soap. Rub the tick for 15 to 20 seconds. Tick will release and usually sticks to the Q-Tip.