I hate ticks. I really hate ’em
Is there a more disgusting creature than this? Please, no mother-in-law feedback.
Hopefully, it will warm up here and I’ll be back on the water writing more interesting trip reports shortly. In the meantime, I decided I needed to review the immediate action drill and other tick related info to refresh my memory and my approach to dealing with these critters.
According to Glen Needham, a tick guy at Ohio State University, here are the top five tips you should follow to protect yourself:
1. Avoid “ticky” areas. Geez. That was a no brainer. But. I always thought tick would fall from a tree on me. Turns out that’s not the case. According to Dr. Needham, they get on you from vegetation that is at or below waist level.
2. Wear light colored clothing – long sleeves and pants. This allows you to see the tick before it can get to your skin.
3. Use repellants – DEET stuff is best
4. Check yourself frequently to get them before they have a chance to attach.
5. Pull them off right away if they grab you. You should grab it as close to the head as possible and pull up slowly straight backwards – do not tilt. Use even pressure – do not jerk it up. He does not recommend you grab it with your bare hands. You should use something to separate the tick from your fingers. Do not squeeze the body! That just squirts the bacteria into your blood stream. You have to grasp, lift and pull from the head. Be very careful if you use tweezers as these are sharp and will probably just cut the head off. Things that do not work include:
- hot objects on the tick
- fingernail polish
Clean up right away. If you are concerned about disease, keep the tick for identification and testing later.
Here are some other interesting tick facts:
- A tick can live for one to several years without eating or drinking water
- Once attached, a tick will feed for days or weeks
- An infected tick will not transmit the infection to you for several hours after attaching
- Ticks are spread mostly by birds
- August and early September are the most tick free months as they will either have fed and be digesting their meal or are dead.
- Ticks are blind
- Ticks crawl around until they find something vertical and then go to the top where they wait to sense prey – you have to brush against the tick, they do not jump.
Here’s a link to the Virginia Dept of Health page on ticks.
Maybe the best way to beat these guys is to wear the Buzz Off line of clothes that are insect repellant:
The pants come in other sizes via this link
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore