Monday, May 09, 2005

This Ticks Me Off!

We had a lovely Mother's Day here in Rapid City. We thought going on a picnic up in the Black Hills would be fun, so we headed up to Custer State Park after church. The rain had blown away and the sun was up. We saw bison and deer and pronghorn and wild flowers and starlings and....

We decided to go on a little walk near a river. John was funny, pointing to every rock. Sam (the dog) was having a great time exploring the area and rolling in buffalo chips. Sydney had been really upset about the trip - she prefers to stay home - but she started having fun, and even said: We should do this more often.

Just as we were heading back to the car, I saw a tick on my pants. Then one on Hannah's jacket, one on Emily, aaaaaaaaaaaaaa. We really hustled back to the car. Each time we would stop to brush a tick off someone, more would appear. It was so creapy. Seeing a tick makes you have to investigate every itch. We could see the ticks just sitting on the grass, waiting to pounce.

When we got back to the car we all stripped down and tried to get rid of all the ticks. I found two in Hannah's socks, and on one crawling on my underrooos. Yikes!

Sam was hopeless. We use frontline on him. It is an oily flea and tick contol product that is applied to the back of a dog. I'm not sure how it works, but I think it gets into the dogs system and makes him not tastey to pests. The frontline did not prevent the ticks from making an attempt.

Nathan removed several ticks from Sam before we headed home, about 15 ticks while brushing him on the porch, and like 30 while bathing Sam. None of the ticks were attached to him, they were just in his fur.

I found one tick on each of the kids heads. John's and Hannah's were not attached, but Emily's and Sydney's were. Yuck.

I dreamed of ticks all night.

I rechecked everyone this morning and we are all clear, but I'm sure there are some in the house that came in on our clothes and on Sam. I have not cleaned out the van, and I'm sure there are some in there waiting to attack. Writing about the ticks makes me have to feel around on my head.

Dog Tick
Here are some ways to prevent tick bites:

Avoid tick-infested areas, especially in May, June, and July (many local health departments and park or extension services have information on the local distribution of ticks).

Wear light-colored clothing so that ticks can be spotted more easily.

Wear long pants and tuck the pant legs into your socks or boots; wear a long-sleeved shirt and tuck it into your pants; and use a hat for added protection.

Tape the area where pants and socks meet so that ticks cannot crawl under clothing.

Spray insect repellent containing DEET (products shouldn't contain any more than 30% DEET) on clothes, or treat clothes (especially pants, socks, and shoes) with permethrin, which kills ticks on contact. Remember that these products should be used with caution.

Walk in the center of trails to avoid overhanging grass and brush.

After being outdoors, remove your clothing and wash and dry it at a high temperature.

Inspect yourself carefully and remove any attached ticks. For tick removal: grasp the tick with fine tweezers as close to the skin surface as possible, pull straight up with a slow, steady force and avoid crushing the tick or slipping off the body. Ultimately you do not want to force any material from the tick into your skin. Clean the area of tick attachment with disinfectant. Ticks (saved in a sealed container) can be submitted to the Mosquito Commission laboratory or certain local health departments for identification.


texasblu said...

Good info. - thanks. Creepy! At least you caught them quickly.. I found one on my daughter once that had burrowed his way in.. it was not fun to get out. yuck!

Joyce said...

Your picnic sounds like a fun time until the ticks. Look carefully for the ticks, especially in the hair. My cousin had one attach but go unnoticed for a couple days. Then she collapsed. It was so hard to get out. Mom

Donna Boucher said...

Ticks :o(

Mary said...

Yucka! That post makes me feel itchy - like when I worked in a school and a kid would get lice. I hope you found them all! I think I would have been flailing around like crazy trying to get them off. I'm not leavel headed when it comes to bugs crawling ON me. Sounds like a fun adventure for your family :)