A few weekends ago, we were at my mom and dad's.  I had an itch on my left side and under my shirt there was a bump. When I looked...there was a little tick stuck to my skin. 
    "Hey mom!  Do you have any tweezers?"
    "Yes, why?"
    "I have a tick."
    "Oh!  Let me see.  There's nothing to worry about unless there's a white dot on their back."
     "Ummmm, mom.  This one has a white dot on it's back."
     "Oh!  Well, maybe it's not a white dot that's dangerous.  I don't know.  I'll get the tweezers."
This led to my first ever internet search on ticks.  It turned out that the tick that I had, was fine.  It made me realize though, just how much I didn't know (or care) about ticks to begin with.  We haven't found a tick on our kids yet, so it never crossed my mind. 
     If or when you might get a tick however, have I got a treat for you.  I've put together some helpful information from the several websites that I found.  (Yes. My life is full of excitement.)
    Keep in mind...I am not a doctor, so if any of this information is wrong or invalid and you are the keeper of all knowledge on ticks (and yuck)...please feel free to correct.
                 TYPES OF TICKS  (ewww)
                     Lone Star Tick
    The Lone Star Tick female is easy to identify from any other tick by the white dot or "star" in the center of her back.  The star is actually part of her shield. 
    Lone Star Ticks are found throughout the southeastern and south-central states, but have been identified as far north as Maine and as far west as central Texas and Oklahoma. 
    The tick will feed on humans, and other animals (dogs/cats) and may be quite aggressive.  The saliva from Lone Star Ticks can be irritating, but the redness at a bite site does not necessarily indicate an infection.
    Although Lone Star Ticks are not known to carry Lyme Disease, research has found that they may cause STARI, or Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness, causing a rash that may be accompanied by fatigue, headache, fever, and muscle and joint pains.  STARI has not been linked to any arthritic, neurological, or chronic symptoms however - and the rash and accompanying symptoms have resolved following treatment with oral antibiotics.

                   The Brown Dog Tick
      The Brown Dog Tick will feed on a wide variety of animals, but dogs are the preferred host and attachment to humans is uncommon.  Dog Ticks can however, reach extreme pest proportions and infestation in houses and kennels.  Brown Dog Ticks have not been shown to transmit the bacteria which causes Lyme disease in humans, however in parts of the Southwestern United States, it may transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and in Europe, Asia and Africa, it is also known to carry what is locally known as Mediterranean Spotted Fever, or Tick Typhus. 

                   The Wood Tick
      Wood ticks are most active during the spring and summer months. They tend to be near field edges or wooded trails. Wood ticks usually take up to 24 hours before they begin feeding, giving you time to remove them.  Wearing repellant and proper protective clothing will help to avoid getting wood ticks.  Wood ticks may carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. 

              Deer Tick (Black Legged Tick)
       Deer ticks present more of a risk from around mid-May through mid-July. The risk is present, but lower, again in early spring and in the fall (late September-October) when the adult stage of the deer tick is active.  Deer ticks can carry Lyme Disease.  The risk of contracting Lyme Disease is small if the tick is removed soon after it becomes attached.  They must remain attached one to two days to transmit the disease and not all deer ticks carry Lyme Disease.
   (Lyme disease was first recognized in 1975, after researchers investigated why unusually large numbers of children were being diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in Lyme, Conn.)
   Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease may include: Flu-like illness, headache, extreme fatigue, red ear lobes, TMJ/ Jaw Pain (Temporomandibular Join), beck & back pain, joint pain & swelling, bone pain and EM rash (erythema migrans) or "bulls-eye".
     If you find a tick...don't panic.  Use tweezers to grasp the tick as close to its mouth as possible.  Gently and slowly pull the tick straight outward from as close to the mouth/head as possible. 
     Try not to squeeze the body which may push infected fluid from the tick into your body.  Do not try and smother the tick with Vaseline, nail polish, liquid soap, a hot match, or any other crazy trick you've heard of.  This could cause the tick to burrow further into your skin or release infected fluid, increasing your risk of infection. 
     Once the tick is removed, wash the area and apply antiseptic to the area.  You may want to keep the tick in a zip lock bag if you have any concerns.
     Okay, I officially have the heeby-jeebies, so I'm going to stop with the tick stuff.  I hope this trusty guide will come in handy for you if you need it, but even more so, I hope that you never will.
                    Happy Summer!!!
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07/23/2014 3:37am

I loved it! So well written that I wanted to read about these blood suckers!

07/24/2014 11:52pm

You're Awesome Audrey! Let me know what you find out! You're a brave girl. :)

07/23/2014 7:41am

Golly, makes one want to SPRAY with Deet and also give our dogs tick protection for sure!

07/24/2014 11:54pm

That's a Great point about the tick protection for your dog! So important. XO

07/23/2014 8:29am

Glad you got it out. Be careful around the wooded areas. I know several people around Raleigh who did get Lyme disease. Two rounds of antibiotics, but the symptoms can come back in some people.

07/24/2014 11:55pm

That's so scary Cynthia! I've heard of some friends who've had to deal with it in Ohio and it sounds like a nightmare. Stay safe this Summer! Love to You!!!


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