Here in Maine, the tick season is well upon us.
Ok, technically, it can be year-round, but we don’t actually see ticks in the winter on ourselves or our pets. I’ve seen them in recently-abandoned moose beds, but that’s it.
So, it’s time to know your lyme tick from your joe schmoe tick.
Unhhunh, again technically, there is no such tick as a Lyme tick, it’s called a deer tick, but that’s a huge misnomer because these teeny little buggers can and do hop on any mammal, including birds. Anything with “warm” blood. And that’s how some truly devastatingly horrible diseases, ones that have already outstripped AIDS in damage around the world and here in the United States, are transmitted. Via blood. And other bodily fluids, like semen.
So you do not want ticks on you.
Scientists like to say that only certain types of ticks transmit Lyme Disease, but all you need is transmission of fluids, so personally, I like to avoid all ticks. If you are bitten, however, it is crucial to know which type of tick, and to save it, if possible. For identification and possible testing.
Some of the newer tick-bite protocols are calling for immediate doses of antibiotics regardless of what type of tick anybody thinks it may be.
However, here is a handy little guide from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control):
Aren’t they pretty?
In Maine, people are finally admitting there is an epidemic of Lyme disease and are starting to test ticks to map prevalence and spread of Lyme-carrying ticks. You can send your special new buddy in for testing using the instructions and address here: https://extension.umaine.edu/ticks/submit/
Here’s a handy wallet card to use in identifying ticks, are they Lyme or not?
Here’s a page of good Lyme Disease prevention/treatment and tick identification resources, prepared by the State of Maine, but useful for anyone in North America:
And another: http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/tickkey.htm
A major key to being able to enjoy the summer outdoors in Maine is using bug spray, but I prefer to stay away from the very effective DEET because it is so toxic to us humans. I like herbal bug sprays; they’re all-natural, healthy for us and the environment, they smell great, and they don’t damage plastics the way commercial bug sprays do (commercial bug sprays will eat right into your sunglasses, cell phone, nail polish, etc.). Since I couldn’t always find what I wanted for an all-natural bug spray, I created my own which you can buy here at Peacock & Paisley. I hope you’ll love it as much as I do! It’s such a relief to have a safe, effective bug spray to use to protect myself and my family with.
PS: here are some downloadable pdfs to help you learn more about ticks and how to identify them: