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CC's Outdoor Journal
As a hint of daylight starts to break through the fog, the maple and poplar trees become towering shadows echoing distinct voices made by the sounds of the birds that inhabit them. The songs of the chick-a-dee, the chipping sparrow, robins and phoebes welcome the morning with a unique appreciation. With the robins and phoebes having created nests of babes near to me, it’s like a gift to witness their contributions to nature.
On the ground, hidden behind the tall stalks of grass and emerging from the shallow depths of the vernal pool, the croak of the frogs is deep and guttural. Later in the day, as I sneak along the edges of the water, frogs will be seen scurrying their way from the coolness of the tall grass back to the safety of the water. The tadpoles will dance just under the water and find safe harbor in the grassy shelter of the deeper pools among the cat tail stalks.
Over the last few weeks I’ve had the unique opportunity to work from home and be witness to the smaller, simpler things in life that I may not be aware of sitting in the office or notice while I run from the various activities that I fill my days with.
In fact, nature has been telling me a story and I’ve been at full attention. While I was making friends with the weeds in my garden the other day and dreaming of a successful harvest of vegetables, I looked over at my dog and noticed a dog tick crawling up his side.
It’s not very often that I see them before they attach themselves. While I take all necessary precautions by using Frontline on my dogs and checking them over each day, I have to remind myself to check myself, too.
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of talking with Sue Holmes about ticks and found that she has more knowledge than I could possibly absorb in a lifetime. Sue highly recommends that people use the brail method to be sure they don’t have any ticks on them. While you’re in the shower or have just come in from the outdoors, feel all over and notice if you have a “raised mole” where one didn’t exist before.
While information is still very vague in terms of time frame to get the tick off you before you could get infected with Lyme Disease, how symptoms appear and what symptoms appear, it’s recommended that you remove the tick within four to 48 hours of it becoming attached.
Many people believe that the tick will actually burrow its body into the skin. The entire tick will not go in under your skin, but as the tick gets engorged with blood, its head will get under your skin. Always use a pair of tweezers to remove the tick as close to the skin as possible. Never squish the tick, for you run the risk of getting the possibly diseased blood on your skin and you could become infected.
Sue recommended that you put the tick between two pieces of tape and if it is a deer tick, you can send it to the state for their examination. You can find the submission form for deer ticks by visiting https://exg4.exghost.com/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/boh/ddc/.../lyme/2010%2520Submission%2520form.pdf
Sue showed me the difference between a deer tick and a dog tick. The deer ticks are much smaller and very hard to see, while the dog ticks are more visible with a hint of white markings on their shells.
I also learned that ticks aren’t only a problem during the spring, summer and fall months. They are a danger throughout the year. The ticks don’t die off with the first frost or the first snow. They are hearty little buggers that can live for weeks without blood and don’t die easily.
Even though this is just a small portion of the knowledge Sue shared with me on ticks and Lyme Disease, I encourage you to become more aware of the dangers of this debilitating and potentially deadly disease. Be your own advocate in health and wellness.