Dear readers, over the past few months I have written many pieces for you. I have given personal anecdotes and advice, as well as heartbreaking and uplifting stories. Today, I am going to do a little of both. I had a, let’s call it an experience, over the weekend. I want to bring you up-to-date on my epic meltdown and help make sure it doesn’t happen to you.
I visited Long Island, New York, over the weekend. It was my first time there. I accompanied my boyfriend and his best friend on a trip to play Disc Golf.
It’s like golf, but with small discs that look similar to a frisbee.
It’s played mostly in the woods and open grassy areas. Those places where ticks love to hang out.
About four holes in, it started. At every single basket, for 18 holes, I found at least one tick crawling up my pants.
I have never experienced anything like it. Over and over and over again. Tick after tick. They freak me out entirely, but I made it the whole 18 holes. Not once did I ask to go back to the car
Then it happened.
We got back to the car, and I thought things were okay. I looked down, and there was one crawling, though, on my skin on my chest. At that exact moment, I lifted my shirt to find another one underneath of it.
I ran to my boyfriend, ripping my shirt off entirely, to have him get them off.
As he reached for me, there was another one on his thumb. That was it for me, I said, “They’re falling from the sky,” and proceeded to lose it entirely.
I ran to the center of the parking lot, as far away from grass and trees as I could get. Then I started flailing and throwing my heavy dreadlocks all over the place. I took my pants off at least three times. So far, there is no video.
It looked something like this, though, but with fewer clothes, way more hair, and a lot more tears.
I can look back and laugh now, but it was horrible.
I started my research in the car. Now, let’s get into it and make sure this never happens to you or your pets.
If someone told me that anthrax powder would keep ticks off, at this point, I would bathe in it. Luckily, that won’t be necessary.
First, let’s talk about wardrobe. Pants, boots, and long socks are a must. Tuck your pants into your shoes. I wore a form-fitting tank top, and that gave them nowhere to hide, so that worked. But my pants were boot cut and those little suckers crawled right up there.
I am getting these.
When you get home, take off those clothes right away. If you don’t want to do a full cycle, stick whatever you wore in the dryer on high for at least ten minutes. That will kill the horrible little vampires.
Backlegged (deer) ticks can be very tiny and difficult to spot, so if you don’t have access to a dryer right away make sure you store those clothes alone in a bag until you get a chance.
Then, get very personal with a buddy, boyfriend, wife, or even a mirror. Check yourself thoroughly after a nice hot shower. They love dark and moist places so make sure to check behind your knees, armpits, you know, all those spots. As soon as possible have someone thoroughly check your hair.
We are still checking mine. If one bites you or your dog, follow the instructions from the CDC by clicking here.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you spray your clothes with permethrin. Spray it directly on the clothes, socks, and shoes that you plan to wear outdoors. Permethrin is odorless and colorless and will not stain your clothes.
Click here for all the tips from the CDC.
Permethrin is safer and more effective than DEET which also works. However, while DEET works to keep them off, Permethrin also kills the little buggers.
However, please note that permethrin is dangerous to fish, bees, and aquatic insects. So, when you spray your clothes, make sure you aren’t near plants or water sources. Also, don’t let your kitties near the sprayed clothes until they are dry.
Now, onto our pets.
My Sophie girl did not deal well with the drops like Advantix. She is on an oral flea and ticks medication called Nexguard. Since she started, I haven’t seen a single flea or tick on her. Not one.
Find what works best for your pet and don’t forget a dose. You will need to see a vet to get the ingestible stuff that I give Sophie.
There are thousands upon thousands of products on the market. They have collars sprays, drops, treatments, and there is even a vest with repellant on it available for your fur babies.
I will say that I attempted to do the natural route a couple of summers ago with Sophie. For her and I, essential oils are not going to cut it when it comes to the tickpocalypse.
OUT AND ABOUT
As pet owners, most of us know about the products available. One new thing I learned, however, is about walks.
Ticks love to hang out in the grass. When you are on a walk with your dog on a path, keep them away from the edge of the trail as much as possible. Dogs love nothing more than to put their noses down and follow the edge of the path. Ticks know that, and they hang out there waiting.
I know this will be difficult. At a minimum, go over your dog thoroughly after every walk. Again, though, with the right prevention like I found, it’s unnecessary.
Well, there you have it. Ticks are worse than ever this year, but that shouldn’t stop any of us.
Before you end up nearly naked in a parking lot screaming, crying, and looking like a crazy person, though, use these tips to go into the wilderness with confidence that you have done all you can.
What are your favorite flea and tick treatments? Tell us all about it in the comments.