There it is, folks, the dark side of gardening or being outside in general, especially if you live in my neck of the woods. It is a very tiny but extremely scary foe:
|If you thought I was going to stop and take a picture of the tick on me, you thought wrong.|
Here is a pic from Wikipedia.
The next day I went out to the garden again. This time I was prepared, having sprayed myself liberally with Eau de Deet. I was working in my vegetable garden picking bok choy when I happened to look down and spotted movement. There was another one, its little red and black body standing out in stark contrast as it crawled along my cream-colored shirt.
|Yes, I look this good while screaming.|
And yes, now I have become rather scared of my own backyard.
The scariness of ticks is not the actual tick or even the way the little insect turns vampire and sucks blood into its increasingly bloated body (ew). It's more because of all the diseases it could be carrying. In the Northeast, sources say 50% or even up to 75% of the adult deer tick females (the only deer ticks that suck blood) could carry Lyme disease. Almost everyone you meet up here has some horror story of someone they know with Lymes that has had serious health complications - even including death.
|"Lyme Disease Risk Map" by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention|
And that's not even counting the other tick-borne diseases that are also rearing their ugly heads up here: Rocky Mountain Fever, Powassan Virus, Borrelia miyamotoi disease, babesiosis, and several other unpronounceable ones.
So, what's a girl to do? I garden extensively, and my exercise of choice is hiking through the woods. I don't want to give up my favorite activities. (That would be letting the tiny terrorists win!) So far my plan of action has involved more Deet, tucking my pants into my socks within my gardening boots (better look like a dork than the other option, right?), and spend a good amount of time stripping in front of a mirror each time after I go outside. So far, so good (knocking on lots of wood).