[CT Birds] TICKS

Alexander Burdo alexanderburdo at mac.com
Sun Jun 6 18:31:30 EDT 2010

Hi All-

I just returned from Cape May where an experience I knew would  
inevitably happen, happened. James Orrico and I had gotten back from a  
pretty involved day of searching out Brown-headed Nuthatches and Black- 
necked Stilts in DE. We were both pretty tired and I decided to go and  
take a shower. That's when I noticed the tick. I noted how much  
smaller it was than the ones we'd recently had in the car (3 still  
alive a week after the Sterling Forest trip) and got a little worried.  
It also wasn't moving. The first thing that came to mind was that it  
was attached. I immediately told James and we were on our way to Cape  
urgent care. Once there the doctor IDed it as a Deer Tick and then  
went on to extracted it with a pair of tweezers. He seemed to have a  
lot of experience with this sort of thing and said, luckily it hadn't  
started drawing blood yet. After that he put me on an antibiotic for  
Lyme just in case.

It was not the most exciting experience and we decided that no matter  
how silly or nerdy or dorky we looked, that when in appropriate  
habitat, tucking our pants in our socks and shirt in our pants and  
using strong bug repellent is a MUST.

Before leaving I was given a handout with some tick bite info:

You have a tick bite. These bites don't usually cause any serious  
problems when the tick is removed right away. To remove a tick, grasp  
it directly as close to the skin as possible and pull it straight out  
firmly. Do not twist or jerk as you pull the tick. If the mouth and  
head parts are still in the skin, you will need further attention to  
remove these parts. DO NOT use petroleum jelly, alcohol or hot matches  
to try to get the tick to back out.

Tick bites often cause a large area of redness, swelling and pain  
around the bite; this usually clears up in 2-3 days with mild pain  
medicine and cool compresses. Some ticks are carriers of serious  
infections including Lyme Disease, Tick Fever and Tick Paralysis.  
Please call your doctor or go to the emergency room right away if you  
have any of these symptoms within the next few weeks:

-Any rash, especially a circular rash around the tick bite
-Fever, joint, or muscle aches and pains, or muscle weakness
-You have trouble walking or moving your legs
-Headache, sleepiness, agitation, eye irritation or flu symptoms

Antihistamine and antibiotic medicines may be needed to reduce  
symptoms and treat infection. You can guard against tick bites by  
being careful not to brush against plants and trees along trails and  
walk (sometimes extremely difficult when birding!). Wear protective  
clothing and apply an insect repellant to all exposed areas plus boot  
tops, pant legs and shirt cuffs. Wash and dry clothes as soon as  
possible. Check yourself every 2-3 hours around the hairline, armpits,  
and waist. Also check your pets regularly after exposure to tick  
infested areas.

Sorry about the encyclopedia I just wrote, but I know people who have  
had Lyme and let me tell you, as a person in the cancer community, I  
know that is another community you don't want to be part of.

I hope this will help birders to know what to do if they do find a tick.

I wish everyone safe, happy, fun but (unfortunately not) tickless  

To see more updates on the BIRDING parts of the cape may trip, I'll be  
posting a trip report here a little later: http://floridascrubjay.wordpress.com/

Good Birding,

-Alex Burdo
Fairfield, CT

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