Thursday, May 14, 2009

Say hello to my little friend (it's not really my friend but the title is catchy. I just can't place where I've heard it before. Yes that was sarcasm)

Chicky brought home a little someone the other day. She wasn't aware this little guy had followed her home which is good because he's a little goth and a real wannabe blood sucker and hhe's a little young to deal with that type. The little guy didn't have a name so I was going to name him Edward, but he's not sexy in the least. He's really, really creepy. So instead, I'll call him...


(Click it, I dare you.)


(Those of you from other parts of the country other than the northeast might not know about the dangers of deer ticks and Lyme disease - actually, it's all over the place now so maybe you do. Whatever. It's freaking scary so keep reading anyway. It's important.)

We pulled this little sucker out of Chicky's hair where it thankfully was just crawling around. It hadn't latched on yet.

Then, a couple of nights ago, I was petting the cat when I felt something on her ear. Yep, a tick. I screamed and yelled for my husband who came running in with a What?? What's wrong?

I just pulled a tick off of Nina's ear!

So what do you want me to do?

Uh, I don't know. I just freaked out. Kill it. Flush it. Hit it with a rock just GET IT OUT OF MY BED.

And let me tell you about the other ticks I've found since then....

Hey, wait! Come back! Where are you going?

Okay, I'm sorry. I won't talk about ticks anymore.

I'm totally lying. TIIIIIIICKSSS.


I can't even tell you how many common dog ticks I've pulled off of my dogs and other's dogs in the past. Hundreds. Hundreds and hundreds, and they've never freaked me out. But these are worse. These carry disease that make you horribly sick and then your arms and legs spontaneously fall off and then your head explodes the end.

Okay, not really but a deer tick bite left untreated could really mess you up. Oftentimes, people carrying the disease don't have the tell-tale bullseye bite mark and then the flu-like symptoms they complain about go undiagnosed.

The problem is, deer ticks are so small that by the time you notice them the damage might be done. So I've been obsessively checking the girls for teeny, tiny little specks of black that might be ticks but also just might be dirt. Every nook and cranny gets a thorough inspection. Nobody is pleased with me right now because the procedure can be a little... invasive. Ahem.

Now every time I feel a little tickle on my skin I'm all, It's a tick! OMG, it's a TICK!!

Every speck on the floor, A TICK. It's A TICK! We're all going to DIE!!

Coincidentally, May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month because this is when the little blood suckers become really active and therefore, really dangerous.

I won't get into the specifics of how Lyme disease works, you can read about it here if you want to know more (and you should).

Want to know how to remove a tick safely if you find one on you? Read about that here.

One piece of information I found particularly interesting, when going outside in tick infested areas (AKA, my freaking yard) apply 20 - 30% DEET even on children as young as three months old. I know some people have a problem putting DEET on their kids, but I think I'm willing to take that risk.


Especially since I stopped writing this post to put Chicky to bed and before putting on her pajamas I did my check. And there, in her fine blond hair, was a tick.

(Oh. Mah. GAWD. A FREAKING TICK. Am losing my mind.)

And it was imbedded. I have no idea how long it had been there since I didn't check her head last night but it wasn't full of blood and we got everything out. Still, I'm freaking out a little.

Okay, a lot. I'm freaking out a lot. And tomorrow I'm sizing the girls for their very own, personalized bubble. Covered in DEET.



LisaJohnson said...

I grew up in tick country, we had routine head checks when we came in and my Mom would have us strip to our undies at the back door and check us over thoroughly. You have to literally rub your fingers around through a kids hair and really look at what you're doing!

BTW the line is from Al Pacino in Scarface. Be safe. Use DEET, have a fun outdoorsy summer!

Greens and Pinks said...

GROOOOOOOOOOOOSS. Now that we are living in the country too, I am obsessed with checking the girls for ticks since we have deer in the yard literally every single night. Ooh, I am so grossed out by ticks. Damn deer.

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Lisa - I know, I was being sarcastic but not doing a very good job of it. But thanks!

Anonymous said...

Well, I don't know if it makes you feel any better, but it looks like the tick in your picture might be a Wood Tick, not a Deer Tick.

Wood Ticks are significantly less likely than Deer Ticks to transmit Lyme's disease. If you google Wood Tick vs. Deer Ticks you can see comparison pictures and read more of the details.

furiousBall said...

oh i live in deer country and i've been on the antibiotics for lyme's diseases so many times, i've lost count. we just have to check ourselves before bed if we've been outside, you find one, go see the doc, no biggie

Liz Aguerre said...

I hear that Scarface line alllll the husband is constantly quoting that movie! And once, during one of his adventure races, he came in after several hours hiking in the woods, and he had a tick on his lash line on his under-eyelid (is that a real term?). I have been freaked about it ever since!

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Jennifer said...

I can't stop scratching myself. Gaaaaahhh!

I let my dogs out in our yard all the time, let 'em roll around in it, all that usual dog stuff, and I don't check them at all... which is bad, but my big concern now is what if they had a tick and it fell out and is crawling around my house and is scoping out my baby?!?!


Amy Sue Nathan said...


But just wait til they come home with lice. And. They. Will.

Love ya!

Sarah VM said...

Ticks totally disgust me! I pulled one of my daughter's ear. It had bit her too. I was freaking out!

For the rest of the day I couldn't stop scratching myself and checking her!

I just treated my dog with frontline so that should help a bit.

A Vapid Blonde said...

I am totally infested with ticks, even before reading this. I can feel them right now, having found two on my computer, one under a fitted sheet, several thousand on the dogs....and my husband. They are totally disgusting and I enjoy killing them with a spoon and display the dead out on the deck to serve as a warning to the rest of them.

mamatulip said...

Ew. Eeeeew. I learned about ticks when I moved to where we are now. I've yet to deal with one but I know it's just a matter of time.

Magpie said...

Ack! Ack. I should be more vigilant...but ack!

Mandy said...

Ooh... this gave me the heebie jeebies.


Thanks a lot.


The Amazing Trips said...

I clicked on the picture and saw the HUGE tick now I have the heebie jeebies.

Even though I haven't left the house all day and we live in a tick-free zone, I must go shower. And check my scalp. IMMEDIATELY.


Really - what is the purpose of ticks on the planet??

Anonymous said...

OK, I heart you but I could only read half of this post. Hey, at least I'm being honest. I could only mkae it to the tick in the bed. I have never seen one but am afraid of finding one. And I live in San Diego, which makes no sense. I know I'm a freak. I'm just glad it didn't latch on to Chicky! I may have never made it back here!

SciFi Dad said...

What if you put a little pool of your blood on a saucer and left it out in the kitchen? Do you think the ticks would just chow down and leave you alone then?

However, this would mean that your house becomes the "cool house" where all the ticks can get hooked up without all that tweezer shit, so maybe not.

Shannon said...

I'm with you. Those little creepy crawlies freak me the f*ck out! I know exactly what you're talking about when every little tickle makes thing A TICK! A TIIIIICK!!!! Gah! Glad I'm living away from tick country right now!

Whirlwind said...

That tick looks awfully big to be a deer tick.

I remember one night, having a discussion about deer ticks with some friends and one mom commented about how she'd never see one - asking again about the size. A few days later she was at my house and I happened to notice a speck on Meenies arm, I took it to show her - and yeah, it confirmed for her that she'd never find them. Amazingly, I've been able to quickly zero in on ticks in the past. But still, somehow last summer, Meenies still ended up with Lyme Disease.

We use DEET spray, but we do ALOT of hiking so, it's kind of necessary.

Patois42 said...

I would be unable to stop obsessively and compulsively checking their heads and behind their ears and the cats and the dogs and I need to leave now.

Avalon said...

I won't, I won't, I won't........

tell you the scary stories. Or that the most commonly published reseacrh on Lyme and Lyme transmission is bunk. Or the fact that most people can't honestly tell a dog tick from a deer tick from a nymph tick from their ass or their elbow (not you Mrs. C) Or the equally ugly co-infections that ticks transmit that can be just as devastating as Lyme.

Or the horror of the 9 months it took me to feel slightly like a human again....with 3 doctors and agressive treatment. And I never saw a tick or had a rash.

I will just say this: watch Chicky like a hawk. Lyme is FAR more dangerous and insidious than the mainstream medical community ( who publishes most of the online websites and articles) would like you to beleive. If she starts acting sick or achy.....treat her aggressively.

Lyme can and will change the course of your life if you adopt a "watch and wait" attitude. I know you are wise, but having barely surivied, both physically and mentally, this past year with Lyme the idea of an embedded tick, blood-filled or not is a horror.

Anonymous said...

i'm pretty tough (on the outside) and all girlie on the inside... but there are only TWO things I'm afraid of...


The_EmilyB said...

Thankfully I've never had to deal with the bloodsuckers but I am still insanely freaked out about them. I do not envy you in this!

With regards to the Deet on the kids - put it on their clothes not their bodies - repels just as well but is far less toxic!

Ree said...

Thank you. I'm now scratching uncontrollably.

Susan Getgood said...

1. Frontline for all the pets. It's expensive but worth it

2. Put light covers on your couch and any seats the animals get on so you can see if they drop any ticks

3. Check the kids when they come in from outside.

Douglas & one of our bitches both had Lyme disease 2 years ago. The dog never had any symptoms; it was caught in a heartworm test but Douglas was very sick for a week.

Live Simply Mommy said...

Well, I am from the Northeast, so I am with you on this one! Ticks scare the shit out of me! And, although I am a fairly 'green' mom, I will throw 100% DEET at my kids if it means avoiding these parasites!!! Great, now I have to do a bed check before I can go to sleep... thanks! said...

You are making me ITCHY. Very itchy!

I have pulled many a tick off of my eldest son. None off of my other two, though. Maybe he smells different? My husband attracts them, too. I have never had one and it does freak me out a bit...

SUEB0B said...

I admit...I kind of just scrolled through this post because EWWWWWW TICKS! said...

Ugh. I found a tick on my daughter's head last summer. Then a deer tick on my stomach, and this was after being outdoors in 40 degree weather with ten layers of clothes on. I got the bugger before it burrowed, but still.

Ticks. Thanks. My skin is crawling now. ;-)

Unknown said...

Gross. I went straight downstairs to put flea and tick treatment on the dogs after reading this!

Life As I Know It said...

I just wrote a post about ticks too...we do nightly tick checks on the boys. My youngest has had two in his hair so far. They are gross and they are everywhere this time of year in MA!! ICK!

TwoBusy said...


(Why do I have no doubt that when ticks talk to each other, they sound like Skeksis?)

Mom101 said...

Oh gak gak gak! Nate found one on Thalia when she was little that had been on her ALL DAY. He thought it was a birthmark until he was in the bath with her.

A brand new birthmark. With legs and teeth. Awesome.

I'm happy to say she lived, but the tick did not. I'm banking on the same for Chicky.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

Oh my god, my skin is absolutely crawling. We've been on the tick hunt here too. Ugh and double ugh.

tiarastantrums said...

we live right next to this big blob of trees and weeds that the city does not clean up and across the street is a retention pond. WE ARE INFESTED with ticks every fricking year! I HATE it! I found one crawling in my baby's ear last year - at the grocery store - I know it jumped from the dog. We find them on the dog all the time - my husband pulled one off the dog and THREW IT ON THE FLOOR!!!!! I freaked out on him - he is so stupid sometimes!!!!


Sarahviz said...

*full body shiver*
We do THOROUGH body-tick-checks in the Trenches. Every night.
I may just start to bathe the boyz in DEET.

sam {temptingmama} said...

Gaaaaahh! EW. EW. EW.

*scritch, scritch*

*scratch, scratch, scratch*

You're evil.

Kaza said...

I CANNOT believe I clicked on the photo. Now I can feel them all over me. EEEEEEK!

Auds at Barking Mad said...

I love New England

I love New England...

I'm just gonna keep telling myself that and pretend I didn't see this and read all this.

I've been in Maine for 5 years now and have yet to see a single tick. *KNOCKING ON THE BIGGEST PIECE OF WOOD I CAN FIND*

Thanks...I'm not going to sleep at all tonight because I feel like I have something crawling on me.

GeekGirl said...

Head to your local vet, they sell this awesome spray for your yard it keeps the ticks away all summer season in the heat of Texas where they are BAD! You just hook it up to the hose and spray.

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