Okay, let’s all agree. Insect bites suck! Figuratively and literally. Anyone who has lived in certain areas of Georgia, or similar environments will tell you, getting bitten buy chiggers, sandflies, blackflies or mosquitoes pretty much SUCKS!
The pain you’re going to feel is dependent on how many times you’re bitten and how sensitive you are; plainly put. First things first-don’t scratch because all you’re going to do is irritate the area. I know, I know, it feels good to scratch but don’t.
A good way to care for the area is to use ice to alleviate the swelling. Calamine lotion is another helpful item to keep in your camping pack. There are a lot of good commercial products out there so take your pick. Use repellents like DEET to pre-treat your clothing. This will repel them to some extent.
So let’s talk about ticks.
Ticks love to suck blood and they will suck your blood given the chance. They can consume up to 400 times their body weight. They do this to the point that they are blood-filled. You can pick up ticks as hitchhikers in most country areas that you go into. They jump onto your skin once you brush against vegetation as you go tearing down on your mountain bike or just strolling about. Try to avoid wooded and bushy areas if you can. Stay to the center of trails. Also, ticks love animals as much as they love humans. Your pet is going to be very susceptible to these annoying critters.
If you decide to venture into areas known for having ticks, take the time when you get home to check yourself, and you’ll be thankful that you did. Once you get home check yourself and your pet. Do a full body search. Using a hand held mirror is a good idea.
Where to look?
All over: Check for ticks under the arms, behind the knees, between the legs, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, around the waist, and especially in their hair. Not only that, but check your gear. They can ride along and come home with you. If you find them on your clothing or gear, then tumble dry your stuff on high for a good hour.
If you find one, don’t carelessly try to pull it off of your body. You might end up ripping off the body but accidentally leaving the head where it can fester. Tweezers can work well. The skinnier the tweezers the better. Grab the tick at the tip of the head and pull up from the skin so as not to separate it from the body. Another good way to remove a tick is to use molten paraffin or vaseline. These products should cut off the air supply from the critter. Once this happens they’ll be forced to let go.
Some people try using a cigarette to good effect. But be careful wielding the thing. My buddy had one in his cheek and his father forced the tick deeper into his skin. Use a cigarette with tweezers skillfully and it should do the trick. Some people have tried rubbing alcohol. These will all work. But checking yourself first is the key to ensuring they don’t cause more problems, by the time you discover them too late.
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