Tick Take Two

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

As much as I would prefer to get as far away from ticks as I can, I’m back as promised with more info on the diagnostic part of the dread tick experience, a personal accounting on whether I have transformed into a fully tick-responsible person in one week’s time and a host of tips and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control.

First, the accounting
  • For better coverage, I now wear a full hat instead of my preferred visor at ball games and on woodsy walks and hikes
  • I will douse with a DEET product before gardening, hiking, camping or sitting in grassy areas at ball games and once it’s delivered I’ll put on Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE) for in-town walks if it smells good. (Full disclosure; I hiked this weekend but it was raining so DEET seemed unnecessary. I have since found out from my alert and informed editor that ticks don’t mind hunting in the rain! From here on out, I will spray rain or shine in high-risk environments.)
  • I will spray my hats, boots, patio cushions with permethrin (0.5%) when it’s delivered. SAFETY NOTE: permethrin should NOT be sprayed on the skin, only on clothing. Be sure to spray tops of socks if you tuck your pants into them or bottoms of pants if you don’t. And be very careful around your pets with permethrin; it can also be toxic to them.
  • My partner and I started a daily tick check ritual before dinner. For a few days. We have since revised the plan to doing tick checks when we’ve been somewhere other than paved surfaces. This is more realistic and probably a lot more sustainable than a nightly ambition.
Overall, I’m really pleased and relieved to have come up with a plan and to have made these initial moves. I have to say that the very disturbing experiences I heard about after last week’s column have had a BIG influence on my transformational tick-smart readiness. (One co-worker has a friend awaiting a heart transplant.) This is serious business. Like other diseases we have come to know and protect against, chances that a tick will get to us eventually would seem to be pretty good. More than a third of ticks in Maine carry Lyme disease.
What does your tick management operation look like?
Are you totally tick-responsible? I am in total tick-awe of you if you are. If you aren’t there yet, what would be the most important thing you could be doing to protect yourself? (Just a different way of asking what you feel most guilty about not doing.) What are the chances you could use the momentum of this tick talk we’ve been having these past two weeks to protect you and yours even just a little more?
The diagnostic process and more
You’ll find information about the diagnosis process and a lot more included in the attached complete resource guide, a combo of last week’s tips (stripped of my commentary) and this week’s tips. The guide covers:
  • General interesting info about ticks
  • Tick-caused diseases
  • Managing life with ticks
  • Symptoms
  • What to do with ticks you find
  • The diagnosis process
  • Tick disease prevention tips and instructions from the Centers of Disease Control
  • Safe application of repellant
  • Where on your body to check for ticks
  • Removing a tick
  • Vaccine news
Stay safe out there. Life really does require a good dose of bravery mixed, I would say, with a healthy dash of denial & joy to balance it all out.
To the middle path and incremental transformations!