Be prepared: Spring means ticks
It didn’t happen this year, but it sure has in the past. While out checking my tapped maple trees I’ve returned with ticks crawling on me. Sometimes they were deer ticks, which happen to carry the Lyme agent, while others they were dog ticks. Neither is pleasant.
During this year’s late-February and early-March sap runs the conditions were prime for ticks, especially during some unseasonably warm stretches. However, despite my attempts to locate them, I’ve thus far come away unscathed.
Anywhere there is bare ground there is the potential to encounter these pesky arachnids. That’s the case anywhere in New York, throughout New England and into the Atlantic coastal states. And with the spring season now upon us, I expect they’ll be out in full force.
I declared war on ticks a decade ago after being treated for Lyme disease. Unaware of any tick bite, I woke up one hot July morning with achy knees and by the end of the day was experiencing flu-like symptoms. I felt better after taking some cold medicine, but was still feeling shaky.
Less than a week later I happened to notice red blotches all over my body that were warm to the touch. I suspected then that I’d been bitten by a Lyme-carrying tick. A trip to the doctor confirmed I was in the early stages of Lyme disease. Although it was successfully treated, there are still times when I feel touches of the symptoms I experienced back then.
Never wanting to experience that again, or worse, I’ve become a staunch advocate of battling ticks, and for the most part, my regimen revolves around how I handle clothing.
First, I set aside a set of clothes for working in the garden and around my property, say, cutting firewood in the spring. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately.
I treat these clothes with a permethrin spray and let them hang outside for a day or so before using them. I also use a regular tick repellent spray. Both products are made by Repel, but there are others.
I do the same with my turkey hunting clothes in the spring, as well as my deer hunting clothing and gear in the fall. These are often the same clothes, or similar, and I treat everything: boots, hats, belts, face mask, you name it. Next, I seldom wear these clothes in the house. I get out of them as soon as possible and head straight for the shower. And I also make sure to check myself over in the period following my time outdoors.
A few years ago I found an embedded tick on me after returning from a camping trip. I immediately called the doctor, who prescribed a very short run of the antibiotic doxycycline, which is a common treatment for tick-borne diseases. Fortunately, there were no issues.
I have to say, that not having children or pets lessens the burden for me. With that, I issue a word of caution as the weather warms and we get outside. You can never be too prepared for ticks.