As if skeeters and blackflies weren’t enough, we’re still in the midst of one of the worst years of Lyme disease on record and while we’ve covered that topic pretty completely in past columns, a discussion I had at a fish and game club meeting a few weeks ago brought me to one topic I haven’t mentioned in much detail and that’s how to rid yourself of an attached tick.
According to the Department of Health website, here’s how you do it, but first let’s assume you don’t have one of those special tick removal devices that can be purchased at many pharmacies or sporting good counters, or are even a part of some larger first aid kits. They’re a small, handy and effective tool but few persons have them for some reason.
Using tweezers (one of my Swiss Army Knives has a pair of tweezers), grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible; gently pull the tick up in a steady, upward motion; one you have the tick out, wash the area of the bite with a disinfectant; when attempting to remove the tick, don’t touch the tick with your bare hands and don’t squeeze the body of the tick as that might increase your risk of an infection. Also, don’t put alcohol, nail polish remover or Vaseline on the tick. Don’t put a hot match or cigarette on the tick in an effort of make it “back out” since it probably won’t. Don’t use your fingers to remove the tick.
These methods do not work and may only increase the likelihood the tick will transmit Lyme disease to you. Applying alcohol, nail polish remover, a hot cigarette or similar items can irritate a tick and cause it to regurgitate its gut contents into your skin.Those gut contents can contain the Lyme disease-causing bacteria.
Don’t panic or worry if, while removing the tick, the critter’s mouthparts break off and remain in your skin. Those mouthparts alone can’t transmit Lyme disease because the infective body of the tick is no longer attached. You can leave the mouthparts alone and they’ll likely dry up and fall off in a few days, or you can remove them as you would a splinter.
After cleaning the area of the tick attachment, watch the site of the bite for the appearance of a rash three to 30 days after the bite. The rash will usually be at least two inches in diameter initially and will gradually expand to several inches in size. Rashes smaller than than the size of a quarter are usually a reaction to the bite itself and do not mean you have Lyme disease.
If you develop a rash, or flu-like symptoms, contact your physician immediately, Though not routinely recommended, taking antibiotics within three days of a tick bite may be beneficial for some persons. This would apply primarily to tick bites that occurred in areas where Lyme disease is common and there is evidence that the tick fed for more than one day.
In cases like this, discuss all the possibilities with your physician or health care provider. Be guided by his or her recommendations and remember that not every deer tick is a carrier of Lyme disease.
Also, don’t forget your cat or dog. They too can attract ticks and contract the disease so check them after every walk, especially if you take them through weedy or brushy areas.
FUEL N FOOD CONTEST
Big game hunting may not be high on your bucket list now but the 13th Annual Fuel N’ Food Big Buck Contest is now accepting applications. The entry fee is $15 per person and includes a Hunter’s Banquet at the Mayfield Grill on Saturday, Dec. 15. Registrations will be accepted until the opening day of the northern zone regular big game season and prizes of $100 each will be distributed in the early bow season category as well as early muzzleloader, largest spike horn, lightest buck and heaviest bear.
Prizes of $150 will be presented in the most points, widest spread and longest brow tine divisions and $200 will be awarded for the heaviest doe entered. The heaviest buck prize will be $250.
For additional information you can visit the Fuel N’ Food store or you can call 518-661-6917.
Have a great holiday week but drive and boat defensively this week. The weather predictions look great. so enjoy yourself but keep in mind that this is one of the most dangerous weeks of the year for vehicle and boat accidents.