I spent two very sweet days chaperoning for my daughter’s school on a camping trip outside Syracuse. As we were bringing our gear to the cabin, I plucked a deer tick off the forehead of one of the kids in my carpool. The child calmly said, “Hmm, this one was trolling,” as we examined it, meaning it wasn’t stuck on, just cruising for a good spot to lodge. She lives in the Catskills and her family are nature lovers. They live in the woods, and hike regularly, so checking for ticks and removing them has become a routine for her. It becomes a fact of life of so many of us in the Catskills.
It was wonderful trip with lots of impromptu games, fishing, strategizing collectively to complete elaborate rope courses, archery, kayaking, camp fires and s'mores. Each night I checked the kids in my room for ticks before they went to bed. The younger ones were cool about it, but I had one teen in my cabin who was reluctant to be checked. When she saw that I spotted a tiny speck of a deer tick on one of the younger girls she came to me and asked “Do you think showering would get rid of them?” I shook my head and she let me check her.
The second day, when I spotted a tick on my belly, I marched over to the Super Mama Tick Buster. She is someone I respect and is well versed in the art of tick removal. She had an impressive kit because her family had several bouts of dealing with false negatives and the sorrows of advanced stage Lyme Disease. I learned that my needle point tweezers are a thing of the past. She had various sized forked tick removers, one that looked like a hoop on a key chain, another that
looked like a soda can tab with a guillotine-like component. She also carried an ointment and homeopathic pellets. After an enlightening discussion I vowed to update my kit and keep checking.
If you live in an endemic area please keep informed: The American Lyme Disease Association http://www.aldf.com/lyme.shtml#symptoms says that early symptoms are often mild and can be easily overlooked. “Even in the absence of an EM rash, diagnosis of early LD should be made on the basis of symptoms and evidence of a tick bite, not blood tests, which can often give false results if performed in the first month after initial infection (later on, the tests are more reliable)."
Be healthy, be active and be safe...check for ticks.
Image from LymeDiseaseGuide.org