There are few things I despise more than ticks. Ticks were a thing I had heard about, but never seen in person. When I was a vet assistant we had posters illustrating them. Flea prevention protocols always addressed them. My grandpa used to talk about how to remove them with a match. That was the extent of my tick knowledge and experience until about nine years ago.
Sydney was a puppy. I was on the floor with her watching TV. Lights were out. The only light was coming from the TV. All of a sudden I had the urge to look at the hardwood floor in front of us and as soon as I did I saw a tiny creature that commanded attention far beyond its size. I immediately knew what it was without even turning on the light. I knew I had a reason to hate this creature as soon as I saw it.
People often say that they would not be able to identify a tick if they saw one. I am telling you right now: you will know when you do. They will not be mistaken for a beetle or some other benign creature like poison ivy will not be mistaken for a maple leaf. It looks like it can take you down.
If the tick is the enemy, then the spider is the friend. I was on the phone and felt something on my elbow. When I touched it, it grabbed my finger. (I will spare you the swear words that followed.) But then the most incredible thing happened. When I found where the tick landed after I had spazzed out and it went flying, I witnessed a spider running out from under the kitchen cupboard to quickly spin him into a straight jacket and then kill it. That spider lived happily in my kitchen and I named him Bruce. I no longer force spiders out of my home.
The picture to the left is the top of a wooden sign on the back of my toilet. See the hideous creature on top of it? That's a tick. I think they know I hate them and that's why they taunt me.
These creatures have the potential to wreck your life with one bite. It's even possible that the diseases they carry can take a life. Singer Avril Lavigne was so sick she was in bed for two years. A colleague of mine in the health and fitness world spent a long time battling the disease as well.
Taking on ticks is an important topic. Most of the prevention that is recommended are substances I choose not to use on my dog or myself. I urge everyone to do your research and be well-informed before you choose how to prevent ticks and Lyme's disease in your pets.
We spend a lot of time in the woods and live in an area that has lots of places for these little demons to hide. Luckily, my approach to preventing bites is pretty simple:
- I have a few favorite products I spray on to deter ticks when we are out in the woods. One of them is made by a lovely lady named Stephanie at Oasis Health Foods in Waterford. It is a mix of essential oils and other ingredients that work like a charm for mosquitos, too. I also like Wondercide products.
- I check my dog and myself often.
- I don't share a bed with my dog. (Shameless Sydney Sleep Mattress plug - bugs don't like hemp!)
- Every so often I do a little reading to see if there is something I am missing, but, I don't get sucked into the articles that feed into fears and keep us from doing all the things we love. I found a good read here.
What do you do to prevent ticks and keep yourself sane?
Please share in the comments below. I also love stories that normalize my neuroses. Feel free to share your tick story. Maybe we will both feel better.