Friday, March 30, 2012

Watch Out For Ticks!

Deer trails should be avoided due to ticks!

We may have loved our mild winter this year in upstate New York, but it also means that our tick population is showing up earlier than usual. Instead of having early spring without worrying about ticks, we have to be extra careful this year. Our dog, Nikita does not go out into the woods much anymore now that she is older. The cats in our house are another story though!

Hobo sleeps and hunts in that heavy brush. So do ticks!

Patches and Hobo will find a place in the heavy blackberry bush growth to curl up and sleep during the day. This is a perfect place to lure a tick out of the brush with the promise of a blood meal on the cat's neck or other choice spot. Being very diligent about checking the cats every evening when they come in for the night is the only thing I can do. I cannot keep those two out of the brush as they are obsessed with getting out there every day.

The deer tick is the cause of a bacterial infection that is known as Lyme Disease. If left untreated, it can cause a  number of health conditions. If caught in the early stages and treated with antibiotics the person or pet can recover completely. Just because you have a tick on you, it doesn't mean that you have Lyme Disease. That will show up as a red mark or rash on your skin, in the same location where you removed the tick. You can read about it here in this book, Everything You Need to Know About Lyme Disease and Other Tick-Borne Disorders, 2nd Edition, which I recommend to familiarize yourself with it.  I usually apply alcohol after removing one. I remember getting them on me as a child living in Florida, where I spent a lot of time in brush and pine woods.

When you are going out into the forest or brush area, wear long sleeves and long pants. Tuck your pants into your socks and wear boots. I know it is hot, but this will keep you safe from deer ticks. Use rubber bands or garters on the cuffs of your sleeves. Don't wear a loose tee shirt, instead wear a light jacket or parka and zip or button it up at your neck line. Wear a hat and if you have long hair, fasten it back and put it up under the hat. My friend, Jamie swears by Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth, as a natural flea and tick treatment for herself and her pets. She dusts herself and her pets before they go outside everyday in tick season.

I am not tying to scare you, just reminding you to be careful so you don't catch Lyme Disease from this little pests. They don't seem to crawl around much so you don't really feel their movement. It isn't until later that you find one on you. My husband had one on him last year and didn't even know until he was sitting at his computer. I check my cats really good around their necks and under and between their legs. Check your critters very carefully for each and every little bump. It could be a tick!

According to New York State Department Of Health, "Not all deer ticks are infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Ticks can become infected if they feed on small animals that are infected. The disease can be spread when an infected tick bites a person and stays attached for a period of time. In most cases, the tick must be attached for 36 hours or more before the bacteria can be transmitted. Lyme disease does not spread from one person to another. Transfer of the bacteria from an infected pregnant woman to the fetus is extremely rare."

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole
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