Monday, December 4, 2023


‘Tis the season for tick talk

By Kate Doherty
Soon school will be out and families will be ready to break out – visiting parks, going hiking and camping in heavily wooded areas. Many state and federal parks have been closed due to the pandemic. Now that they’re reopening, there’s a chance that folks will soon be venturing where nasty ticks live.

These vampiric pests will be questing – perched on a leaf or branch just waiting for you or Fido to brush nearby. They’ll grab onto your clothes or Fido’s fur and climb on.

Ticks aren’t only in the woods. They also live in short grass and easily adhere to your shoes, pants, sleeves, hats, or your dog’s ears, fur, paws and tail. Don’t let them migrate into your RV!

Vampires among us

Ticks are attracted to warm-blooded mammals and us humans by our scent (i.e., pheromones and carbon dioxide emission). If these blood-sucking pests don’t feed on blood in each growth stage of their life, they die. And most of us don’t have a brood of chickens to pick them from our yard and surrounding campsite!

Transmitting deadly diseases

Ticks carry deadly diseases for us humans as well as our best friends. According to the CDC, ticks can deliver Lyme disease, Powassan virus, babesiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, as well as lesser impacting rashes, fevers and maladies.

Yes, you can safely hike in the woods and let Fido wander about. But do yourself, your family, and Fido or Fifi a huge favor and check thoroughly after every jaunt outside, especially in wooded areas. Use a spray containing DEET on your shoes, pant legs and long-sleeved shirts and headgear.

They’re in all 50 states

There are several species of ticks, some specific to geographic regions, that spread different diseases. Each can cause havoc with you and your four-legged friends. Depending upon geographic location, they can even bite in the cooler months, so don’t think it’s just a summer issue. Here’s what to look for after a tick attaches itself to you:

Photo credit: Interactive Medical Media, LLC
Image credit: WebMD Bad Bugs Slideshow
Photo credit:

Here’s what a tick bite looks like after it becomes infected:

Photo credit: Courtesy of CDC
Photo credit: WebMD Archives

Don’t overlook Fido … or Fifi

Now, for our four-legged friends. The myriad of tick-borne diseases can negatively affect pets soon after being bitten. Ticks like warm areas where the skin is thin enough to penetrate and gorge on the blood of their victim. Common symptoms to look for besides redness or red circles are lethargy, loss of appetite, pale gums, dark-colored urine, diarrhea, seizures and other changes in behavior. These can occur within a few days of contact. If in doubt, seek veterinary attention.

Photo credit: Bing images
Image credit: Just Answer
Photo credit: Bing images

Find and remove a tick before it bites

If you are lucky and able to remove the tick, drown it in rubbing alcohol. Keep the tick and take it to the veterinarian so the species can be identified with one of its known transmittable maladies. The same goes for us humans. And, if we are bit, it’s better to keep the tick and show it to a healthcare professional if you are being treated if fever, chills, rash or other unusual development exists after being bitten.

DIY and natural prevention measures

Prevention is the key to not contracting a tick-borne malady. This skin tonic spray made from essential oils was seen on Shark Tank. It is safe for your skin and Fido’s, and even for cats. It’s made from essential lavender, cedar, lemongrass and neem oils and can be sprayed on your dog prior to venturing into an area endemic with ticks. According to the manufacturer, it repels insects immediately and the neem oil soothes irritated skin.

Essential oils are more helpful than just for bathing

You can make a DIY tick-repellent mixture consisting of a combination of citrus oils, essential oils like lavender, lemongrass, cedar, and rose geranium. Some folks have combined lavender oil with apple vinegar. Again, these are natural, non-toxic, non-chemical-laden mixtures. The best defense, however, is prevention by dressing appropriately and checking yourself and your dog thoroughly, looking in the smallest of crevices for those tiny vampires.

How to remove a tick

Photo credit: American Kennel Club

Besides narrow tweezers, this is a tool for easily picking off ticks. Be careful not to twist during removal or leaving the head attached to yourself or Fido’s skin. There are more devices to remove ticks online. Some come with a chart to identify the culprit that bit you or Fido. If you can’t keep or find the tick, perhaps the chart will come in handy. Do your homework before you create one of these concoctions. Make sure it’s healthy and safe for everyone.

This chart offered by the CDC may help you identify and avoid contact with these nasty critters.

Courtesy of the CDC

Remember, it only takes a couple of hours for a tick to begin the process of infection. Be vigilant. Be wary. And be smart.


Dealing with ticks – an expert’s advice




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Paul Andrews (@guest_120678)
2 years ago

Working in my backyard in Tennessee I got bit by a tick. After eating red meat I broke out in some nasty rash that seriously itched. A trip to my Dr and a blood test confirmed I have Alpha-Gal allergy. A protein in meat from mammals causes the reaction. No more steak or ribs. The only meat I can eat has to have had fins or feathers. If someone is grilling steak I can only breath deep and drool. Ticks are nothing to mess with.

Irv (@guest_120151)
2 years ago

A vaccine for Lyme disease is being tested.

“Clinical trails of new vaccines for Lyme disease are currently underway. Valneva and Pfizer have developed a Lyme disease vaccine candidate, VLA15, that is currently in Phase 2 human trials. VLA15 is a multivalent, protein subunit vaccine that targets the outer surface protein A (OspA) of Borrelia. This vaccine is designed to protect people against North American and European strains of the Lyme disease bacterium.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School’s MassBiologics has developed a human monoclonal antibody designed to be used as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for Lyme disease. Human trials are expected to begin soon. This approach would provide seasonal protection against Lyme disease. It would likely consist of a single shot that people would get each year at the beginning of tick season.”

DNelson (@guest_120087)
2 years ago

Living in Minnesota and having spent many hours over the many decades in wooded areas bowhunting I frequently found ticks attached to multiple places on my body. I also know many who suffer from Lyme disease years after their initial infection. That changed after I started treating my clothing with permethrin. I can’t speak to the tick prevention effectiveness of essential oil products but I have used permethrin for many years and can attest to it being very effective. The military has been issuing permethrin treated clothing since 2013. Note that it should NOT be used on your skin, only clothing. And its effectiveness is maintained through multiple washings.

There are many website articles about permethrin use but here are three if you want more information:

Scooter (@guest_120248)
2 years ago
Reply to  DNelson

Thank you for the info. Always looking for a way to deter these pests.

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