I remember once as a kid I expressed a very innocent childhood fantasy that I could befriend a baby deer. They'd come and visit me in the backyard and I'd get to feed him cereal from my bowl and I'd get to pet it and he could teach me how to run really fast. My father shot that idea down right away, saying that it'd be impossible for me to cavort with a woodland creature because they carry ticks.
Dirty, blood-sucking bugs that also carry Lyme disease that could kill me. I guess it was for the better that he nipped that silly childish nonsense in the bud right then and there.
After he did that though, I had a new problem on my hands aside from not being BFFs with a deer: ticks. I'd gone to the library to read up on them, checked encyclopedias, dictionaries, looked at photographs, basically learned as much as I could to ensure I never got bit by one. I learned that they were tiny and would burrow their heads deep into their prey, sucking up their blood until they become engorged and popped off. I also learned they were about the size of a single kernel of corn.
What you're looking at in this photo above are "seed ticks." And they can carry the same diseases and cause the same illnesses as their much larger blood-sucking brethren.
Setzer says that even though she caught the tiny ticks fairly quickly and removed all of them from her daughter's body, she still contracted a low-grade fever, even after visiting her doctor and being prescribed medication. Thankfully, Setzer's daughter didn't fall seriously ill.
PSA: (check pictures/watch videos below) I'm putting this out there just a heads up for parents of kids who love to play outside during this time. Emmalee was playing outside yesterday rolling around on the ground while enjoying the sprinkler. After coming inside and laying down for a nap I just happened to notice tiny (and I mean TINY) little black dots all over her legs, abdomen, arms and armpit area. Thinking they may have just been seeds I tried to wipe then scrape one off and it was a TICK! She must've been playing in or near a nest of tick larvae and was covered. I spent nearly an hour and a half picking off well over 100 minuscule baby ticks off of her, gave her a long dawn dish soap bath with repeated washing, washed all bedding, clothing and toys she came into contact with afterwards and administered Benadryl. This morning she woke up with a low grade fever, these spots on her and a hard, large marble sized swollen lymph node. She's been seen by the Dr. already today and has been started on aggressive ATB's and antihistamines, hopeful it'll clear up quickly. ***I want to make every parent aware of what these look like so you can be on the lookout. They're not as easy to see as the ticks you're likely looking for on yourself or children.*** Pictures and videos below (look very carefully) - research 'seed ticks' for more info
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has posted proper removal measures on its website, so definitely check it out if you plan on spending time in heavily wooded areas this summer.
Data from the CDC reveals that there's been a steady increase, specifically in the Northeastern regions of the USA, and that Lyme disease is spreading at a rapid rate from year to year and shows no signs of slowing down. So be sure to thoroughly check your body for ticks, and if you do get a little bugger under your skin, make sure you disinfect the wound after fishing it out and schedule a meeting with your doctor immediately to monitor your health. It could very well save you or your child's life this summer. (h/t kmbc)