The combinations of moisture and temperature this year in South Dakota have apparently been wonderful for ticks. These blood-sucking pests seem to be on every blade of grass, leaf of shrub, or pile of dirt. Below is an image of two of the damn things I pulled off my neck at the same time yesterday. They are so hard and tough they are impossible to crush between your fingers. These were squashed with the end of a screw driver and then picked up on a piece of duct tape. The pencil point gives an idea of actual size.
Click on image for a slightly larger version.
Fortunately for me, I found these while they were still crawling. Got them off and slapped on some rubbing alcohol. Not so fortunately for me was one that got on me about 14 days ago. That tick was smaller, longer and appeared more black. I was working on a pipe trench and got totally soaked with sweat. My shirt was as wet as it would be in a shower. I did not feel the tick that had attached itself to one of my nipples on my chest. About 10:30 at night I removed my shirt and saw the tick. I yanked it and the single hair on my chest out and flushed the tick. Then I swabbed the bite area with rubbing alcohol and tamed iodine something like Betadine.
The next morning, nearly half my chest was partially swollen and nearly florescent red. I was wishing I had not flushed the tick down the drain. Having heard the horrors of Lyme disease on Public Radio just the day before and actually hearing my wife saying she was making a doctor's appointment got me to the Sanford Clinic here in Winner. Nothing much like the classic bulls eye pattern however. In a few minutes, I was chasing a prescription of Doxycycline and a salve That's when I found out that Humana which had not paid any claim from me in 5 years claimed I had a primary provider and they would not pay for the $320 of prescriptions. After about 45 minutes on the phone with very personable representatives of Humana, they finally got their system set so the pharmacist here could make it work. I ended up paying $14.00.
Anyway, I took the last antibiotic pill last night and my chest again looks like that of a white-skinned geezer of Scandinavian descent.
This is the first time I have gotten any real reaction from a tick bite. I had previously pulled something like 12 of them off before they got attached this year. No idea of how many in previous years.
Enough about me and the damned tick. You be careful out there. These things seem to be everywhere this year. In town, out in the country, it makes no difference. And, if the NPR program with the researcher very concerned that not enough research was being make on Lyme disease, etc. was on track, there are more reasons than mine here that you should be very careful when working or playing outdoors this year in South Dakota.
Ticks can carry other diseases as well. An uncle of my wife got Rocky Mountain Spotted fever years ago. It caused him some health problems and may have made his death sooner than otherwise.
Below are some informative and useful links:
Well, that is enough of that for one post. You might want to contact your Congress critters and see what they might do to increase the supply of Doxycycline and get the price down from $hundreds to something more reasonable like $10.
*** Stay tuned even if you now itch all over feeling ticks crawling on your skin--- Doug Wiken