I can still vividly remember the first time that I ever found a tick on myself when I was child. I spent the afternoon picking wild raspberries. My leg felt itchy and when I started to scratch it, there was this BUG attached to me. ICK! My grandpa explained what it was, removed the tick, doused the area with alcohol, and that was that. I spent my whole childhood playing outdoors and in the woods. In the first 20 years of my life, I found only three ticks on myself. So, they were never very high on my list of things to worry about.
I worked for the National Park Service for 5 years. I was in the woods and fields quite a bit since I mostly worked at living history sites. I did go hiking in the woods fairly often back then. In those five years how many ticks do you think I found on myself? NONE.
Then, the last several years that I worked at Explore Park in Roanoke, Virginia, it was nothing unusual to find several ticks on myself almost everyday. I was not wading through tall grass or even getting in the woods. Those things were everywhere! I stayed in a high alert tick mode all of the time.
I have gotten so creeped out by ticks that I don't even really enjoy being outdoors anymore. If I am outdoors, it is usually to sit on my porch or behind our house in an area that is covered with asphalt and concrete. Pretty tick safe, right? WRONG. It is gorgeous weather out today and I wanted to sit outside and enjoy it, but I felt something tickling my leg and there was a tick crawling madly up my leg. <shudder>
I know that some of you are probably laughing and thinking that I am being silly. Well, if you could talk to one of my dear friends who is fighting the horrors of chronic Lyme Disease, you would understand my fear. I actual have quite a few of those same symptoms myself, but finding a doctor who will believe me and treat chronic Lyme Disease is no easy task. I was reading something the other day about how Carilion doctors do not treat chronic Lyme because they do not recognize it as a problem.
I wonder why ticks are SO bad now compared to when I was growing up? Any thoughts?
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(Photo from the CDC)