Ticks suck but return each spring to do their worst. Thanks to ticks, we have anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Powassa virus, and Borrelia miyamotoi infection. Throw in Lyme’s disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, along with Bourbon virus and the Heartland virus just for fun.
Around a third of a million people are infected each year with Lyme’s disease annually. It is the most common vector borne disease in North America. Every state is impacted though hot spots are localized. Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania have long been a few of these core hot spots.
Montana has ticks too. Years ago, while spring turkey hunting, I set up along a ridgeline. It was the second week in May and the weather was wonderful. When I looked at my trousers, they seemed to be moving. Hundreds of ticks were crawling over me. I must have sat on a nest. Ticks are blind but sense heat. I was the target. After slapping them off my legs, I kept feeling like my skin was moving. Later, I jumped into a river to thoroughly get rid of any survivors.
The best way to prevent tick bites is to prevent them from getting to you.
Use a repellant of at least 30% DEET
Wear clothes that cover your arms and legs
Tuck in your pants into your socks or use constriction at your cuffs.
Check your body for ticks routinely.
If a tick gets through, remove it quickly. Use forceps or tweezers to pull them off. Make sure to get the head. If the tick is deep, cut around it to allow space to grab the tick near its head. If you twist, wiggle, squeeze the tick, it will vomit all the bacteria into your skin. Not a good idea. Using Vaseline to cover and smother the tick or touching it with a match tip will also cause an instant vomit of tick bacteria.
If possible, save the tick in a container in the freezer. If you begin to develop symptoms, this sample will help in the diagnosis.
The longer the tick is in your body, the greater your health risk. Usual symptoms include a red rash with a circle around it. This usually occurs in 2 weeks or so. Doctors can test for which disease you may have. Flu like symptoms, fever, chills, fatigue, muscle and joint pain will follow. The bite site may also become infected. Antibiotics will be needed to rid you of these hard to kill viruses.
Many victims go for years without a proper diagnosis. 6 months of meds are not uncommon. Doctors have different opinions about treatments but what is for sure is that it will not heal itself.
Get Ticked OFF!!!
For more Montana Grant, find my lurking at www.montanagrantfishing.com.