[Wait a tick: this one's not for the faint of heart.]
As the weather warms and the fuzzy purple crocuses come into full bloom, mountain people everywhere run for cover, paralyzed with fear. Why, you say? What could make a redneck/mountain man/ironwoman look like such a pansy? Allow us to introduce: Tick Season.
According to scientific research found at livingwithbugs.com, tick bites can be “pretty disguisting.” Yes, disguisting. That’s one step up from plain old disgusting, and an adjective reserved only for the tick.
As threatening as a tick buried neck-deep in your nether-regions may be, the real danger of a tick’s bite is in the possibility of contracting a disease, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever or Lyme Disease, cases of which have seen growing numbers in Alberta in the past couple of years.
Now ticks will be ticks, and other than wearing your pants tucked into your socks (which, if you are a gym teacher, luckily you are already one step ahead of the rest of us), there’s not much you can do to keep the little buggers from heading straight for you. The trick is to know how to get them out before it’s too late. Speed is key. Don’t wait until they have eaten half your lunch to start worrying.
Get Rid of that Tick: Dos and Don’ts
1. DON’T just rip it out. This could mean leaving “head and mouthparts” inside of your body which can cause infection. Sick.
2. DON’T try to smother it with Vaseline or to light it on fire. The smothering and burning methods are out-dated and are no longer recommended because they stress the tick out, potentially causing it to release toxins into your body.
3. DO use either a pair of tweezers or a home-made fishing line lasso tightened around its head to gently pull the tick away from its hard-fought dinner. It’s important to get as close to the skin as possible, and then pull STRAIGHT BACK. Apparently, you may have to wiggle the tweezers or lasso in order to get the tick to let go…
4. Once it has been removed successfully, tick experts recommend that you light it on fire (ceremoniously, of course) or wrap it in toilet paper and flush it down the toilet. On another note, you may want to keep it in a jar in your fridge in the rare case you do begin to develop any kinds of symptoms. It could help doctors diagnose your symptoms if they have the specimen.
Google the word “tick” and you will find a plethora of nasty stories and photos that will keep you up at night. Also, there are a lot of great comments out there on how seemingly average people have found obscenely creative ways to deal with ticks. Ticks are crazy, but not as crazy as people.
If you have a tick story or anything to add to this quick-fix tick-list, we’d love to hear it. Fire away!