Sunday, August 23, 2015

Nature's Demons

The field where I likely ran across the seed ticks

For me, going into wild nature is a tonic for my soul, an antidote to the grind of too much modern life. Except for seed ticks, that is. Discovering too late that I've wandered into a hatch of seed ticks is like accidentally taking someone else's medicine and finding it to be poison. A couple hundred seed ticks can ruin an otherwise good August.

Itchy and ill doesn't begin to describe it. I don't know what I'd do if I got them in the middle of a long hike. Benadryl, hydrocortisone, and patience seem to be the only things that help. For some reason, manuals on first aid only talk about treating bites from adult ticks. In my experience, though, any encounter with juvenile ticks (the larva and nymph stages in the tick life-cycle are known as "seed ticks") is far worse. This is mostly a matter of quantity. Seed ticks in the teeny tiny larva stage come by the zillions, and they're basically too small to see. By the time you know you have them it's too late. 

I know this for sure: my future summers must include better prevention and greater vigilance against these tiny demons. It's either that or stay inside.

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