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Better Safe Than Sorry with Ticks

pring time is “Lyme” time, says Bill Heavey in the Sportsman’s Life blog at Field & Stream.


As spring settles in, ticks may be on the mind of all men and women who venture outdoors. But to many, they are an afterthought. Bill warns against leaving them on the mental back burner because of the disease they sometimes carry. 


People who aren’t afraid of Lyme Disease baffle me. I once talked to a deer guide with a large bull’s-eye rash on his arm who said he had no intention of going to the doctor because “I feel fine.”


Good luck with that, brother. I have two good friends with chronic Lyme Disease. Neither expects ever to be cured. The best they can do is manage the symptoms. Both have been greatly diminished by the disease. They have nerve damage, chronic fatigue, various degrees of brain fog—which manifests as an inability to concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time or to remember things they once did with ease. 


They have joint problems. They’ve changed their diets, curtailed their activities, spent thousands on doctors, drugs, and tests. Lyme can also lead to meningitis and heart rhythm irregularities. I’ve got enough problems, thanks.


Bill isn’t all gloom and doom, however. Here’s a list of things he says you can do to prevent the spread of the disease.


  • Wear long sleeves, long pants, a hat, and gloves. Tuck your pants into your socks.
  • Use an insect repellent with at least 20 percent DEET. Better yet, consider treating your duds with permethrin. (You can’t put it on your skin.)
  • Check yourself and whoever’s with you after being outdoors. Ticks especially like areas where your skin is warm and/or thin: the groin area, armpits, the inner thighs, behind your ears, etc.
  • Take a shower and scrub yourself with a washcloth to dislodge ticks.
  • Washing your clothes doesn’t kill ticks. You need a thorough cycle in a hot dryer to do that.
  • Never burn or coat a tick with petroleum jelly. Instead, remove it by grasping as close to the skin as possible and pulling gently but deliberately straight out. You may not get every bit of the tick, but that gets the parts you need to worry about the most.
  • Call your doctor.


May 9, 2018 -

There you have it. Perhaps not what you want to think about as you head to the woods or the water, but as the saying goes, better safe than sorry…

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