HELLO MY CAMP LOVING FRIENDS!!!
A LOUD AND FIRM REMINDER TO PLEASE CHECK YOURSELF FOR TICKS.
I heard of at least ONE person who had a tick bite, and heard of two others who SAW a tick on themselves, but it hadn't bit yet.
There are three common ticks in NYS - the deer tick (this is the tiny-ass one that can be as small as a poppy seed), the dog tick, and the lone star tick. Take a look at the picture to see the difference.
So how do I do a tick check?
For a thorough check you will either need another set of trusted eyes OR a good mirror!
1) Find a private area with bright lighting and divest yourself of your clothes.
2) Inspect your skin using your eyes AND your hands. What may look like a mole or freckle might have legs! Look and GENTLY feel. (I find doing the hand check best to do in the shower with soap and water).
3) Ticks LOVE warm spots - arm pits, groin, butt cracks, periarea (aka the taint), butt folds, gut folds, under the boobies, between the toes. LADIES - check your labia!. GENTLEMEN - check your scrotum! Get close and personal with yourself!
4) Don't forget your scalp and behind your ears!!!
5) I've personally seen a LOT of tick bites at edges of clothing (waist bands, neck backs, bra straps, etc). If you can't strip and do a thorough check, at least check the edges of your clothing.
IF YOU FIND ONE DO NOT PANIC - you will need clean tweezers and an envelope (or small bottle). Some people like to use a lighter, or put dish detergent on the tick to make it back out. DO NOT USE A LIGHTER - you'll just make the tick burrow deeper! And really... don't cook a bug that's attached to you. Just... yuck. Painting a tick with rubbing alcohol, nail polish, nail polish remover, dish detergent, etc etc etc to "force" a tick detach are folklore remedies. I'm not going to dismiss the possibility that they'll work, but the goal is to get the tick off as quickly as possible. The CDC does not recommend waiting for a tick to detach itself. The longer a tick is attached, the longer it has to transmit a contagion. It's a bug that's biting you, and essentially creating a door for all sorts of bacteria.
So how do you get one off quickly and safely?
1) DO NOT JUST YANK THE TICK OFF - if you do, you'll likely break the tick in half, leaving the head in your body. And you don't want that!! Aside from being scary to think about, and super gross, it increases your likelihood of getting an infection or disease (like Lyme.) You'll also crush the tick's body when you squeeze. If you're bitten, crushing the tick against you is a 100% sure-fire way to make sure whatever bacteria it's carrying will get directly into your body. You wanna get sick? That's how you get sick?
2) Gently, but firmly, grasp the tick with the tweezers as close as you can to the head.
3) Pull gently back away from the skin in the direction of the tick. Pull with gentle, even, steady pressure. You want the tick to release from the skin itself.
4) Place the tick in the envelope or bottle. If your bite site forms a reaction your doctor may want the tick.
5) Clean the site with soap and water. Some say use iodine, peroxide or rubbing alcohol, but there is no clinical difference providing you wash thoroughly.
AT THE BITE SITE
There will almost always be a bump at the site where the tick bit you. THIS IS OKAY. This is the normal response to trauma.
There will probably be some surrounding redness. SOME REDNESS IS OKAY. Again, it's the normal response to trauma. We don't want the redness to persist or get bigger though.
USE A PEN OR MARKER TO SKETCH THE EDGES OF THE REDNESS. If this gets significantly larger - with or without a bullseye rash, you will want to see your doctgor.
If there is a central spot of white, purple, or yellow. You're going to want to talk to your doctor.
If you develop a bullseye rash. You're going to want to talk to your doctor.
90% of bites won't have a reaction more than what a flea, mosquito or spider bite would have. You HAVE to watch the site though.
THINGS TO KNOW
Ticks, like many other biting bugs, are vectors (living organisms that can carry diseases). In New York, deer ticks are famous for carrying Lyme Disease, but they can also carry other diseases. The Dog tick and the Lone Star tick have other infections they carry. If you develop a fever, unusual muscle aches, rashes, nausea, or vomiting 1 day to 30 days after being bitten by ANY blood-drawing insect - SEE YOUR DOCTOR.
If you have to see your doctor, TELL THEM ABOUT THE BITE and try to give an estimate to how long the tick may have been attached.
Now that you've read my novel - GO CHECK YOURSELVES!
Edit - I should attach that picture! Ooops! Amazing picture stolen directly from https://albany.mosquitosquad.com/albanys-tick-identification-disease-control/