We are fast approaching a season that can literally “tick” you off! I’m talking about (Ixodes spp.) or deer tick! The deer tick is the major source of lyme disease in the United States, with 43 states reporting cases, including Michigan. Up till 2006, 186 known Lyme disease cases have been documented here in our state. The actual disease comes from the whitefooted mouse, which the tick nymph attaches itself to. The tick then lives off the “host” mouse for about a year. In the spring, those that have reached adulthood, climb onto leaves, ferns, and branches waiting for an unsuspecting warm body to pass by! That’s where you, or even your dog, comes into contact with these lyme disease carriers.
In 2004 and 2005 I turkey hunted around Channing in the Upper Peninsula, and the ticks were the worst I have ever experienced! One day after “tromping” over hill and dale, I shook over 40 ticks off my cloths. My son-in-law did likewise. When we got back to the cabin, we had to do a tick search before we showered. There were several more embedded in our skin that needed to be removed. I used to think that a hot match or rubbing alcohol would make the little “buggers” back out, but that’s not so. The only accepted way to remove a tick is with a tweezers, or similar devise. Gently pull the tick out, and try to make sure you get the head, and it doesn’t break off under your skin. If the head doesn’t come with the tick, you may want to call your Dr. and have him put you on an antibiotic. Make sure you check your hair, and anyplace there is soft tender skin, and have a partner check the places you cannot see.
Lyme disease is nothing to “trifle” with, as in about 20% of cases, lifelong effects can be quite serious. Rob Kress, who used to be the channel 7 news weatherman, contacted the disease while on a camping trip many years ago. He was one of the ones that suffered kidney and heart problems, and his life has been permanently changed. So do you and your family a favor this year, and make a “tick check” part of your daily routine when spending time outdoors. That way you’ll be sure not to get “ticked off!”