When you think about dangerous animals that you can encounter during a hiking or camping trip you often think about bears, wolves or even tigers and jaguars in some parts of the world. But sometimes dangerous animals are a lot smaller and one of the animals that should be high on the list of dangerous animals is the Tick.. after you have read this you'll probably never judge dangerous wildlife by it's size again.
The risks of a tick bite
When we think about ticks we immediately think about Lyme decease but it's just one of many diseases ticks can carry. Others are Anaplasmosis, Rocky mountain spotted fever, Babesiosis, Colorado tick fever, Tularemia, Q fever and Tick paralysis.. There are even rumors that back in the dark ages not only rats but also ticks were spreading the Plague.
Recognizing a Tick
Treating a Tick bite
Some people will tell you to either poor vinegar or alcohol on the tick and the tick will just let go... If only it was that easy, I'm sorry to say that this is just a urban myth. Alcohol might kill the tick but then it would still be stuck in your skin with all it's potential deceases. Vinegar might help to clean the wound or infection after the tick is removed.
Also burning a tick does not help.
The best way to remove a tick is with fine tipped tweezers, you grab the tick as close to it's mouth as possible the you slowly pull the tick out without twisting it. Some people grab the tick by it's body.. Don't ever do that! you might squeeze the the infected fluids from the ticks into your skin.
When the tick is removed it might be best to visit a doctor just in case. Bringing the tick with you in a ziplock bag is also not a bad idea so it can be examined in a lab.
How to avoid getting bitten
Avoid walking through tall grasses and busches as much as you can. so ticks can't get on your cloths and travel to your skin. Put the ends of your pants in your socks and check yourself and your clothing for ticks afterwards. When you're in the outdoors try to stay on the paths as much as possible.
Is there a real reason to panic?
No not really. We all know that ticks carry diseases and that they are hard to get rid off. What most people do not tell you however is that most ticks (maybe more then 90%) do Not carry any form of decease. Still of course it's better to be safe then sorry. And most of all the deceases listed above can be cured with common antibiotics. It is also good to know that most of the stories of people dying due to tick bites are usually just that... stories.. it's pretty rare