Vampires are Real! (You thought I was going to say US, didn’t you?)
*Cue spooky mood music.*
Have you been told there’s no such as vampires, my friends? Then you’ve been lied to.
Insert evil *bwa-ha-ha-ha* here.
They do exist. Oh, but not the vampires of TV and movies, my children.
The real vampires are much sneakier than that. These monsters creep up when you’re hard at work. They tiptoe their eight little legs along your body until they find a nice, tight spot where they wedge in.
Don’t think they’ll just dip a pair of fangs for an occasional sip now and then like our friend, Bela did. No, these devils bury their entire heads and drink for all they’re worth.
And a wooden stake won’t kill them. No. There are only two ways to be sure these little vamps are dead–flush them or soak them in gasoline and burn them.
Today, I’m ticked.
At least, I was yesterday.
* ticked as a pillow.
* ticked as a nervous man’s eye.
* ticked as a parade for an astronaut in New York City.
I want to tell you a story. (Because I’m a writer and that’s what writers do.)
Once upon a time, Captain Kangaroo walked into the Treasure Chest. (If you have no idea who Captain K was, Google it. Just don’t tell me about it because today I might have to smack something, or someone.)
When the Captain checked on Grandfather Clock, all he heard was, “Tock. Tock. Tock.”
“Grandfather!” he called loudly enough to wake him up. “What happened to your ticks?”
Grandfather’s eyes fluttered open. “My ticks? Ho! Ho! Ho! Why, they’re all out having lunch on Susan.”
Yesterday morning at 4:15 am, I found a tick with his miniscule head buried in my flesh. (All together now. “Eeeeeeewww, gross!”)
They aren’t hard to find. When something starts itching and doesn’t quit, you can pretty much bet you’ve got a problem there.
No, I don’t have a picture of him. He was in an inconvenient place and I could barely see him to pull him out–with tweezers, of course. Not trusting a wooden stake or gasoline and a match, I flushed the guy down the toilet.
It made me wonder, “Where could I move that they don’t have ticks?”
So I looked them up.
Ticks are small arachnids (“just like a spider!”) in the orderIxodida.
Ticks are ectoparasites (external parasites), living by hematophagy on the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles and amphibians.
Tick species are widely distributed around the world. (We can’t escape them!!!)
However, they tend to flourish more in countries with warm, humid climates, because they require a certain amount of moisture in the air in order to undergo metamorphosis, and because low temperatures inhibit their development from egg to larva.
Because ticks can harbor more than one disease-causing agent, patients can be infected with more than one pathogen at the same time, compounding the difficulty in diagnosis and treatment.
Major tick-borne diseases include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, relapsing fever, tularemia, tick-borne meningoencephalitis, Colorado tick fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, babesiosis and cytauxzoonosis.
And bad breath. (I made that one up.)
And get this–Fossilized ticks are common. From the Cretaceous–5 to 146 million years ago!
Did you know there are websites dedicated only to ticks? TICK INFO is a place you can go to identify your tick. (So you can call him by his first name, I guess.)
And Tick Biology, which gives you comprehensive information on ticks such as life cycle, how they find a host, and mouth structure.
How can you keep from getting a tick? According to CDC.gov you should stay away from them (walk in the middle of a trail, not in the weeds) and use a bug repellent with DEET in it.
You should also
Perform Daily Tick Checks
Check your body for ticks after being outdoors, even in your own yard. Conduct a body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas by searching your entire body for ticks. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body and remove any tick you find. Check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:
- Under the arms
- In and around the ears
- Inside belly button
- Back of the knees
- Under the arms
- In and around the hair
- Between the legs
- Around the waist
Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has shown to reduce your risk of being bitten by a tick.
My daddy told us to take a bath as soon as we came inside with salt in the water and using Lava soap. I’m not sure why, unless he thought a tick wouldn’t hang around on a body shriveled from salt water and Lava. 🙂
Check your children for ticks, especially in the hair, when returning from potentially tick-infested areas. See the list above for the places on your child’s body to check for ticks. Remove any tick you find on your child’s body.
Check your clothing for ticks. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing. Any ticks that are found should be removed. Placing clothes into a dryer on high heat for at least an hour effectively kills ticks.
So what to do if you, or someone you love, gets a
If you find a tick attached to your skin, there’s no need to panic. There are several tick removal devices on the market, but a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers will remove a tick quite effectively.
Click on the above link for a diagram to removing ticks
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.Avoid folklore remedies such as “painting” the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible–not waiting for it to detach.